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Papers And Short Reports

Height of primary school children and parents' perceptions of food intolerance

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 18 June 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:1696
  1. Charles E Price,
  2. Roberto J Rona,
  3. Susan Chinn


    In the national study of health and growth parents' responses to a self completed questionnaire were used to categorise children according to their experience of food intolerance. The heights of the children in each group were then compared. Useful responses to the questions on food intolerance were received for 6813 (85%) children in the sample and measurements of height obtained for 7856 (98%). Children with food intolerance were shorter than other children. A difference in height of about 1·5 cm remained after adjusting for social and biological factors and some common symptoms in childhood using multiple regression. The number of different types of food avoided was associated with shortness in the food intolerant group but not in the non-food-intolerant group.

    Regardless of the underlying aetiology, these findings suggest that parents' complaints of food intolerance in their children should be taken seriously.