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Indian Express
03 June 2010
Chandigarh, India

Endocrinologists say hormonal deficiency too could be a culprit. But the problem can be detected at the time of birth If the height of parents is normal and there is no nutritional deficiency or congenital defect, there is every possibility that the child is either suffering from hypothyroid or deficiency of growth hormones DR K P SINGH, Endocrinologist

Signs of worry, if...

Your child's height or limb development is not as per the standard yardsticks based on parents' height, race and cultural considerations

Watch out if the child is suffering from protein, Vitamin D or calcium deficiency

Hormonal disturbances are the common cause; focus on growth hormone deficiency and hypothyroidism

IF YOUR child does not grow his standard height and does not hit all the milestones at the right time, there is a cause for worry.

For, short-statured children are a growing tribe, say endocrinologists, as they lag behind due to poor nutrition or hormonal deficiency, which can be spotted at the time of birth.

Endocrinologists say one to two new cases per week have become a regular feature in city clinics.

"If the height of both parents is normal and there is no nutritional deficiency in a child, especially of proteins and vitamins or no other congenital defect, there is every possibility that the child with below normal height is either suffering from hypothyroid (deficiency of thyroid) or deficiency of growth hormones," said Dr K P Singh, senior endocrinologist at Fortis Hospital.

To determine whether a child would have a normal height or not, doctors measure the bone age and the height age of the child through the X-ray of elbow, wrist and knee.

The susceptibility of the disease can be assessed at the time of birth and treatment can started at the earliest, said experts.

Among the nutritional causes, the most prominent cause which doctors attribute to short stature is the deficiency of protein, calcium or Vitamin D in a child's diet. Even the cases of wheat allergy among children are increasingly being detected when their height does not increase, said Dr Singh.

"More food does not mean that it has good nutritional value. Parents should make it sure that their children have a balanced diet as the cases of malnutrition linked with abnormal growth are rising. And this is worrying trend,”added he worrying trend,”added he.

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