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Short Stature in Children

Short Stature in Children Overview

  • The term short stature describes height that is significantly below the average height for a person's age, sex, racial group, or family.
    • Growth failure is often confused with short stature.
    • Growth failure that occurs over time eventually results in short stature.
    • By definition, growth failure is a medical condition. However, short stature is often a normal variant.
  • Short stature may or may not be a sign or symptom caused by a medical condition.
  • The assessment of growth over time - not just a single point in time - is key in maintaining children's health.
  • Any departure from a prior growth pattern appropriate for the child's genetic background may signal the appearance of a disease.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/2/2015

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Short Stature in Children - Causes

Did you have a medical condition that was the underlying cause of you or your child's short stature? What was it?

Short Stature in Children - Treatment

What treatment did you or your child receive for the condition that caused short stature?

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Growth Failure in Children Overview

Growth failure is a term used to describe a growth rate that is below the appropriate growth velocity (speed) for age. The term growth delay may refer to a situation in which a child is short but appears to be able to grow longer than children usually do, and thus, may not end up short as an adult. Dwarfism is a term that has often been used to describe extreme short stature; however, the term is unflattering and its use is often avoided. Growth hormone deficiency is sometimes called pituitary dwarfism.

Short stature may be a normal expression of a person's genetic potential and, therefore, the growth rate is normal. Short stature may also be a result of a condition that causes growth failure and a growth rate that is slower than normal.


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Longitudinal growth assessment is essential in child care.

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