-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Short girls are less likely
than short boys to be referred for tests that could reveal
underlying medical reasons for their stature, researchers have
This means that girls with medical conditions causing their
short stature may go undiagnosed or be diagnosed at a later age,
which could prevent them from receiving timely treatment, according
to the report from investigators at the Children's Hospital of
The research team analyzed the medical records of 33,476
children, aged 6 months to 20 years, who visited four primary care
centers in Philadelphia. Of those children, 3,007 had growth
faltering, defined as being in the lowest 5 percent of height for
age and gender.
Most of the children with growth faltering were managed by
primary care physicians. Only 8 percent were managed by
subspecialists, such as endocrinologists or
Of the 3,007 children with growth faltering, boys were more
likely than girls to be tested for growth hormone system problems,
according to the report published online and in the April issue of
In addition, black children were less likely than white children
to see a subspecialist and this disparity was greater for
endocrinologists than for gastroenterologists, the study authors
noted. Gender or type of health insurance did not influence the
likelihood of seeing a subspecialist.
"While social pressures for tallness may be greater in boys than girls, primary care providers who overlook growth faltering may be missing out on an underlying condition that has additional health consequences. Height is the clue, not the endgame," study primary investigator and pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Adda Grimberg said in a hospital news release.
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