Short Stature in Children

1. What is normal Growth in children?
The growth in children should be a comprehensive measure of both the weight and height in comparison to the population data. The rate of growth in children in maximum during the first 3 -4years of life and then it slows down with a sudden spurt happening again at puberty.

2. If my child is active can he still be faltering in height?
Yes even if the child is active and playful, doing well in academics, he may still falter in height.

  • If you feel the child is not growing
  • His/her clothes size has been the same for over an year
  • If you have monitored and has been growing less than 5cm an year

The child should be consulted with an endocrinologist, who will plot the child on a Growth chart and follow his growth curve.

3. What factors do the height of children depend upon?
The height and growth in children depends on the interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Most important is good nutrition and an environment conducive for appropriate growth. But sometimes despite a good diet and adequate weight gain the child tends to remain short. They may have an underlying condition affecting the growth axis which may prevent them from gaining height.

Some of the conditions when they may not grow adequately are:

  • Children born small for gestation, preterm or low birth babies, who do not catch up and tend to remain short.
  • Children may have a deficiency of growth hormone may hence be short
  • Sometimes children may remain short as both the parents may be short as well.
  • Post cranial surgeries, radiotherapy the children may fail to grow well.
  • Children with thyroid or adrenal disorder may falter in height as well.
  • Special conditions associated with syndromes like Turner syndrome, Noonan Syndrome, Prader-Wili syndrome
  • Certain bone disorders like skeletal dysplasia, achondroplasia, osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Genetic syndromes can also result in short stature

4. Is short stature in children treatable?
Yes, once a cause is identified for the cause of the child not gaining height, it can be treated. Children who have problems in gaining height due to hormone deficiencies are treated with growth hormone after consultation with the Pediatric Endocrinologist.

5. When should I seek medical consult?
It is advisable to seek medical consult as soon as you have noticed that the child has started faltering in height or if you feel that the child has not gained any height in the last 6 months.
The earlier the problem is diagnosed the better are the treatment outcomes.
As the child grows older his bone age also advances and once the bones have fused it is nearly impossible to gain height even with medicines.