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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


My seven-year-old son is in the second grade and is forty-four inches tall. He is easily the smallest child in his class. I've asked our family doctor about this, but he seems to dismiss it. I am 5'6" and my wife is 5'4", so we certainly don't expect him to be that tall, but should't he have grown more by now?
    
Thanks for your question.

There is one vital piece of information we need before properly answering your concern. Has your son always been on the lowest channel of the growth chart (5%) since the age of two or so, or has he been of average height until recently. If he has dropped percentiles in the last year or so, then that would be cause for concern. On the other hand, if he has been the smallest in his class since starting school and is gaining enough height each year to stay on the same growth curve, then we would agree with your child's doctor that your son's short stature is genetic.

Your son's ultimate adult height is influenced by a number of factors, including genetics, gender, and overall health and nutrition. One method for determining adult height is to consider both genetics and gender. Most healthy children will grow to a height that is somewhere between their mother’s and father’s heights. Using these factors, one method of predicting adult height is to add the parents' heights together, divide by two, then add three inches for a boy (or subtract three for a girl). Using this method, we predict your son will be somewhere in the range of 68 inches tall as an adult.

Always make sure you share your concerns with your pediatrician so he or she can follow your son’s growth chart carefully. When watching your child’s growth, make sure you observe whether or not the youngster is growing at a normal rate and look at the child’s growth curve over time. A healthy rate is about 2 inches per year from age three to puberty, when the adolescent growth spurt occurs.

Good luck

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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