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Short Stature

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

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  • 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.

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Cabana, Michael D., editor. "Short Stature." Select 5-Minute Pediatrics Topics, 7th ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2015. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Select-5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/14190/1.0/Short_Stature.
Short Stature. In: Cabana MD, ed. Select 5-Minute Pediatrics Topics. 7th ed. Wolters Kluwer Health; 2015. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Select-5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/14190/1.0/Short_Stature. Accessed August 20, 2019.
Short Stature. (2015). In Cabana, M. D. (Ed.), Select 5-Minute Pediatrics Topics. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Select-5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/14190/1.0/Short_Stature
Short Stature [Internet]. In: Cabana MD, editors. Select 5-Minute Pediatrics Topics. Wolters Kluwer Health; 2015. [cited 2019 August 20]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Select-5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/14190/1.0/Short_Stature.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Short Stature ID - 14190 ED - Cabana,Michael D, BT - Select 5-Minute Pediatrics Topics UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Select-5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/14190/1.0/Short_Stature PB - Wolters Kluwer Health ET - 7 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -