Editorials

Predicting adult height from a child’s current height

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d6032 (Published 27 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6032
  1. Jan M Wit, emeritus professor of paediatrics ,
  2. Wilma Oostdijk, senior lecturer of paediatric endocrinology
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, Leiden University Medical Centre, 2300RC Leiden, Netherlands
  1. j.m.wit{at}lumc.nl

New tool is useful for parents, but has little value in clinical practice

The physical examination of infants, children, and adolescents includes the measurement of weight and longitudinal growth (supine length or body stature), and plotting these measurements on growth charts is regarded as a useful tool for detecting health disorders.1 Growth charts are used for almost every child seen in primary or secondary care. Abnormal growth is usually arbitrarily defined as a weight, length (height), or head circumference below the −2 or above the +2 standard deviation score (SDS) lines (equivalent to less than the 2.3rd centile or above the 97.7th centile, so that 2×2.3%=4.6% can be considered “abnormal”), a large distance to midparental height, or crossing the SDS lines. Poor growth can be caused by many disorders, of which persistent short stature after a low birth size, growth hormone deficiency, and Turner’s syndrome are most common. A recent study by Cole and Wright reports a height prediction chart that could provide a simple and unbiased estimate of adult height for children of all ages. …

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