Eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates, which may include sugars or starches, can stunt a child's growth, according to KidsHealthLine. Some examples of sugars used as ingredients in food are table sugar, fructose and lactose, while some starchy foods include bread, pasta and grains.
It is acceptable for children to consume some carbohydrates, but eating them in excess can lead to insulin spikes, which, in turn, cause the body to produce less human growth hormone. A diet that is not well-balanced can also stunt a child's growth due to malnutrition. Meanwhile, it is a myth that coffee stunts growth, according to TeensHealth. However, the stimulation of the central nervous system caused by the caffeine in coffee can pose other health problems for some individuals, such as insomnia, migraine headaches, dizziness and anxiety.
Other factors that can stunt a child's growth include: exposure to cigarette smoke, thyroid conditions, the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication Ritalin, insufficient amounts of sleep and participation in certain sports. Cigarette smoke is a concern for children, because it decreases blood oxygen levels while increasing carbon monoxide levels. Lack of sleep can lead to stunted growth because the body produces human growth hormone during sleep. Moreover, some sports, such as wrestling and gymnastics, place a great deal of strain on a child's body, potentially impacting nutrient processing.