Objective To study prevalence and aetiological profile of short stature in children attending outpatients department (OPD) of a community level hospital.
Method Six hundred and twenty five consecutive children (> 2 and < 16 years) attending OPD of a community level hospital, catering mostly to rural and lower socioeconomic strata of society, were screened for short stature using NCHS charts of mean and standard deviations. A diagnosis of familial short stature was made after allowing for mid-parental stature. Prepubescent children were classified as short stature using percentile charts (< 5th centile being taken as short stature) for affluent Indian children. All children were followed up for 6-12 months to establish growth velocity. To allow for onset of puberty and stage, Tanners chart for early (+ 2SD) and late (- 2SD) maturers was considered.
Results Eighty six children were identified as having short stature on first visit. Commonest cause of short stature was protein energy malnutrition (PEM) & chronic diseases occurring in 46 (53.5%) cases. Other causes included normal variant short stature (24.4%), endocrine problems (4.7%) and miscellaneous (5.8%). 11.6% could not be classified due to loss to follow up and inability to refer to tertiary centres. Overall prevalence of short stature was 13.8%, significantly higher than prevalence reported from tertiary centres (p < 0.05).
Conclusion Prevalence of short stature is higher than previously reported. A large number of children with short stature may go undiagnosed in rural and lower socioeconomic strata of developing countries. Prevalence and aetiological profile of children with short stature in present study is more representative of community than previous studies in India.
How to Cite:
Garg, P., 2009. Short stature in Indian children: Experience from a community level hospital. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 34(3), pp.84–88. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v34i3.399