How is short stature syndrome in childhood defined? Based on population norms, a child is short when the height percentile is below the 3rd percentile. In children younger than two years old, the child is plotted on the World Health Organization or WHO growth curves. After the age of two and when the child can stand for a height measurement, the Center of Disease Control or CDC growth curves are used.
A short child does not necessarily mean an unhealthy child. If a child is consistently growing at the 3rd percentile with appropriate weight gain this could be considered appropriate. If child was growing at the 50th percentile and then starts to cross growth percentiles, then this child deserves some evaluation.
We often look at the childs height in relationship to the mid-parental height. The mid-parental height is a calculation based on the parent’s height.
Calculations are in inches.
For a boy:
Mid-parental height=(mom’s height +5 plus dad’s height)/2
For a girl:
Mid-parental height=(dad’s height -5 plus mom’s height)/2
The genetic potential is +/-3 inches.
If the childs height percentile is within this genetic height potential then this is considered to be appropriate for that child.
If the child is below this window, your child’s PCM may do further evaluation or monitor the growth especially if its tracking. If there are concerns, a work up is initiated and referral may be sent to endocrinology, genetics, and/or gastroenterology.