The thyroid gland (also called simply the thyroid) is located in front of the neck. It looks sort of like a butterfly with one wing on each side of the neck. The thyroid is important in many ways for keeping your body healthy. It sends out certain chemicals (hormones) that help control many activities in the body, such as breathing and pumping blood. The thyroid helps children’s bodies develop as they grow up, including getting taller and putting on muscle. It helps control weight and is also involved in other functions.