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10: Middle Childhood - Physical Development

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    Learning Objectives

    After this chapter, you should be able to:

    1. Describe the patterns of physical growth
    2. Summarize nutrition needs
    3. Explain the causes of obesity and the negative consequences of excessive weight gain
    4. Discuss the pros and cons of organized sports
    5. Compare and contrast developmental disorders
    6. Summarize several different mental health disorders

    Children in middle childhood go through tremendous changes in the growth and development of their brain. During this period of development children’s bodies are not only growing, but they are becoming more coordinated and physically capable. These children are more mindful of their greater abilities in school and are becoming more responsible for their health and diet. Some children may be challenged with physical or mental health concerns. It’s important to know what typical development looks like in order to identify and to help those that are struggling with health concerns.

    • 10.1: Brain Development
      The brain reaches its adult size at about age 7. Then between 10 and 12 years of age, the frontal lobes become more developed and improvements in logic, planning, and memory are evident. The school-aged child is better able to plan and coordinate activity using both the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which control the development of emotions, physical abilities, and intellectual capabilities. The attention span also improves as the prefrontal cortex matures.
    • 10.2: Physical Growth
      Middle childhood spans the years between early childhood and adolescence, children are approximately 6 to 11 years old. These children come in all shapes and sizes: height, weight, abilities, and disabilities. Physical growth rates are generally slow and steady during these years. However, growth spurts do occur during middle to late childhood.
    • 10.3: Nutritional Needs
      A number of factors can influence children’s eating habits and attitudes toward food. Family environment, societal trends, taste preferences, and messages in the media all impact the emotions that children develop in relation to their diet. Television commercials can entice children to consume sugary products, fatty fast foods, excess calories, refined ingredients, and sodium. Therefore, it is critical that parents and caregivers direct children toward healthy choices.
    • 10.4: Exercise, Physical Fitness, and Sports
      Recess is a time for free play and Physical Education (PE) is a structured program that teaches skills, rules, and games. They’re a big part of physical fitness for school age children. For many children, PE and recess are the key component in introducing children to sports.
    • 10.5: Physical Health
      Childhood health issues
    • 10.6: Childhood Mental Health
      Mental health problems can disrupt daily life at home, at school or in the community. Without help, mental health problems can lead to school failure, alcohol or other drug abuse, family discord, violence or even suicide. However, help is available. Talk to your health care provider if you have concerns about your child’s behavior.
    • 10.7: Managing Symptoms- Staying Healthy
      Being healthy is important for all children and can be especially important for children with mental health disorders. In addition to getting the right treatment, leading a healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms.
    • 10.S: Summary


    This page titled 10: Middle Childhood - Physical Development is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Paris, Ricardo, Raymond, & Johnson (College of the Canyons) .

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