Short Stature

Short Stature is a topic covered in the Select 5-Minute Pediatrics Topics.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. Explore these free sample topics:

Medicine Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Short stature is height <2 standard deviations (SD) below mean or <3rd percentile for age and sex of the normal population.
  • Growth failure defined as height <2 SD below midparental height (MPH) or height velocity (HV) <10th percentile for age resulting in downward crossing of height percentiles
  • The majority of children with short stature are essentially healthy. True growth failure is typically pathologic and requires evaluation.
  • Failure to thrive (FTT) is failure of appropriate weight gain (decreased weight to height ratio). May be accompanied by poor linear growth.

Risk Factors

  • Poor nutrition, systemic chronic illness, and psychosocial factors can contribute to clinical presentation of short stature or growth failure.
  • A family history of short stature or delayed growth and puberty are well-established risk factors for childhood short stature.


  • Adequate nutrition and weight gain play major roles in linear growth during childhood.
  • Throughout infancy and childhood, growth hormone (GH) and thyroid hormone exert major influences on normal growth.
  • Pulsatile GH release stimulates insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) secretion from liver and other tissues to promote growth at growth plates.
  • The pubertal growth spurt is largely mediated by androgen and estrogen activity at the growth plate as well as enhanced GH release.
  • Chronic illnesses can cause growth failure.
  • Glucocorticoid excess inhibits growth through downregulation of the GH/IGF-1 axis and suppressed osteogenesis.

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --