Environmental factors that influence growth and development in humans include childhood housing arrangements, family income, educational opportunities, interpersonal relationships and employment-related factors, according to Best Start, Ontario's Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre. Contributing biological factors are gender, health status and health practices.
The environmental and biological factors that influence a child's growth and development exist at the child, family, community and society levels, explains Best Start. For instance, at the child level, whether the child's housing arrangements offer sufficient room for play and exploration can impact the child's development. Meanwhile, the extent to which the home is crowded is an example of how housing impacts a child's upbringing at the family level. At the community level, the amounts of crime and pollution in the neighborhood have an effect on how the child grows and develops. The amount of housing aid available for low-income families can impact a child at the society level.
The quality of child care available while the parents are at work is an example of how employment can impact a child at the child level, and child care arrangements can also be an example of a family-level determinant, according to Best Start. At the child level, whether a child is a boy or girl affects development, as children of different sexes show different trends in terms of how they learn and develop.
The nutritional content of the food the child is provided is one way health practices affect growth and development, notes Best Start. The extent to which the caregivers encourage healthy oral health habits and the family's access to dental care are other examples.