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How do I know if my child has a growth hormone issue or is just short?

 In Ask an Expert, Health Tips, Pediatrics

Q: My child is short. Should I be worried about a growth hormone problem?

Growth hormone deficiency is rare. Kids with this problem are shorter than peers and don’t gain height at a normal rate so that they tend to drop further and further below the normal range.

If your child has normal linear growth (i.e. gaining height at a good rate), she doesn’t have a growth hormone problem. Kids with short parents will likely be on the short side, but will still have steady height gain. Kids with late-developing parents may have a constitutional delay of growth and puberty, which means they will be shorter than their peers during most of their childhood and will start puberty late, but will eventually catch up and have an adult height that is in the normal range.

Dr. Valerie Weiss, pediatrician at The Vancouver Clinic

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