Short stature is a height that is less than or the same as the third percentile for a person's age, sex, and race.
There are 3 types:
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Familial and constitutional delays are caused by a child's genes.
Health problems that may lead to short stature are:
Things that may raise a child's risk of this problem are:
Symptoms differ from child to child. Problems may be:
You will be asked about your child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Your child's height, weight, and body will be measured. The skull and facial features will also be checked.
Blood and urine tests may be done. This may include genetic tests.
Pictures may be taken of your child's body. This can be done with x-rays.
Children with familial short stature do not need to be treated.
The cause of short stature in other children will need to be treated. Choices are:
There are no known guidelines to prevent short stature in children who have familial short stature or short stature from genetic problems.
The risk of short stature in others may be lowered by:
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
The MAGIC Foundation
Little People of British Columbia: Society for Short Stature Awareness
Barstow C, Rerucha C. Evaluation of Short and Tall Stature in Children. Am Fam Physician. 2015 Jul 1;92(1):43-50.
Short stature in children—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/short-stature-in-children-approach-to-the-patient. Accessed November 5, 2020.
When a child is unusually short. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/Glands-Growth-Disorders/Pages/When-a-Child-is-Unusually-Short.aspx. Accessed November 5, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD Last Updated: 5/11/2021