'Alas, my child is shorter than his peers', 'Does he play basketball to make him taller?', 'Are there any miracle foods that will make my child taller?'... These are the most common sentences heard from parents who are worried that their child is not on a healthy growth path! Indeed, is short stature a destiny, or is it possible to solve the problem of growth retardation with treatment today?
short stature; It is defined as the person's height being in the last 3 percent slice according to the determined standards. In other words, in a group of 100 healthy people of the same age and gender, the last 3 people in height are considered short. Short stature is seen in 100-5 out of every 10 people in our country, among the reasons for this are living conditions such as malnutrition, not sleeping enough and being exposed to extreme stress. In order to decide whether the child is short or not, first of all, it is necessary to measure the height correctly, compare the measured height with the Turkish standards and see which percentile curve, that is, the growth standards. Acıbadem University Atakent Hospital Pediatric Endocrinology Specialist Dr. Prof. Dr. Saygın Abalı stated that early diagnosis of short stature is very important in reaching the ideal height of the child and said, “For early diagnosis, height measurement of children should be done by the physician at 6-month intervals; It is very important that the physician and the parent record these measurements. Because when a slowdown in growth is noticed, additional examination is absolutely necessary. Children with low birth weight and premature birth should be followed closely. In addition, children with a mother's height of 155 cm or a father's height below 168 cm should also be carefully monitored. Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Faculty Member Saygın Abalı answered the 7 most frequently asked questions about short stature in children; made important recommendations and warnings.
QUESTION: Can I prevent my child from being short?
REPLY: It is very important to determine the cause first. Today, it is possible to prevent short stature in children with treatments applied in many diseases. However, 'early diagnosis' plays a major role in getting effective results from treatment. In some diseases, unfortunately, growth-enhancing treatments are not beneficial, and in some cases, they may even be objectionable. At all these stages, the evaluation of the pediatric endocrinologist is very important.
QUESTION: What factors cause short stature in children?
REPLY: Common causes of short stature in children without nutritional problems are growth retardation and familial short stature. Since familial short stature may be caused by a rare genetic cause, the child should be carefully monitored. “Among the treatable causes of short stature, growth hormone deficiency is very important.” warns Dr. Faculty Member Saygın Abalı points out that the slowdown in growth rate is an important finding for this disease. Besides these; Turner syndrome, thyroid hormone deficiency, chronic kidney disease, congenital metabolic disease, digestive system disease (for example, celiac disease), blood disease, mass occupying space in the skull, Cushing's syndrome, excessive use of cortisone-containing drugs or creams are other factors that cause short stature. forming.
QUESTION: Are there any foods that are effective in increasing height?
REPLY: Dr. Saying that there is no food that has a direct positive effect on height increase, Faculty Member Saygın Abalı continues as follows: "Providing food diversity, providing animal and vegetable proteins, healthy carbohydrates (cereals and legumes), dairy products, fruits and vegetables; It is important that they be consumed in a variety, adequate and balanced manner. Prepared drinks and foods should be avoided as much as possible.
QUESTION: Does exercise help in taller growth? For example, will basketball make my child taller?
REPLY: The most important determinant of height growth is 70-80% of genetic factors. In other words, the most important factors that determine the height of the child in adulthood are the height of the parents. A healthy life, adequate and balanced diet, regular exercise, regular sleep and screen time are also important. There is no scientific evidence that a certain type of sport, such as basketball, has a more positive effect on paint. Important point; choosing a sport that is most suitable for the child's physical health, psychological and social development, and which he/she likes and can do continuously.
QUESTION: How do I know if my child is not tall enough? When should I consult a physician?
REPLY: Many parents worry that their children will be short. So, what are the signals that indicate that the child may be short? When should parents be on the alert? Dr. Faculty Member Saygın Abalı answered this question: "If the child grows more than 1 cm a year between the ages of 2-10, 2 cm between the ages of 4-7, and less than 4 cm from the age of 5 until puberty begins, this table indicates a short stature problem in the child. is doing. In this case, it is necessary to consult a doctor without wasting time.”
Dr. Prof. Dr. Saygın Abalı also stated that if the child is short in stature compared to his parents, even if he has normal growth, he draws attention to the following points: As can be understood from these exceptions, it is very important to measure the height of each child at regular intervals and to calculate the growth rate. Measuring the height of the mother and father and writing them on the health follow-up cards plays a key role in the evaluation of growth, especially after the age of 2.”
QUESTION: If the parents are short, will the child be short too?
REPLY: Contrary to popular belief, the fact that the mother and/or father is short does not necessarily mean that the child will remain short. Genetic factors have an important place among the causes of short stature. However, some genetic factors are also caused by diseases. These diseases are hereditary, that is, short stature is seen in other family members. For this reason, if there are short individuals in the family, the genetic factor causing this problem should be determined and treatment should be started in some of them.
QUESTION: What kind of procedure is followed in the treatment of short stature?
REPLY: The success of treatment in short stature; It varies depending on the type of the disease, the age of onset of treatment, and the compliance of the child and his family with the treatment. Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Academic Member Saygın Abalı pointed out that very successful results were obtained especially in the treatment of children with early diagnosis, and said, “In case of detection of one of the chronic diseases that cause short stature, treatment for this disease is essential. For example, in celiac disease, disease-specific nutritional therapy is applied. Nutritional support is provided for children with malnutrition, and treatments for this disease are applied in chronic kidney disease.” he tells. Growth hormone therapy can be given by a pediatric endocrinology specialist in growth hormone deficiency, Turner syndrome and some genetic diseases, in children with low birth weight who have not grown enough, and in short stature due to brain tumor treatment.