March 1993

Are Children Born Small for Gestational Age at Increased Risk of Short Stature?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neonatology, Bikur-Cholim Hospital and the Hebrew University School of Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel (Drs Paz and Gale); Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Ramat-Gan, Israel (Dr Seidman); Children's Medical Center of Israel, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University (Dr Danon); Medical Statistics Branch, Israeli Defense Forces Medical Corps, Tel-Hashomer, Ramat-Gan, Israel (Dr Laor); and Department of Pediatrics, Stanford (Calif) School of Medicine (Dr Stevenson).

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(3):337-339. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160270099030

• Objective.  —To assess the height outcome of newborns born small for gestational age.

Design.  —A historical prospective study.

Setting.  —A cohort of 1758 newborns born at a single university hospital maternity ward and subsequently examined at the military draft medical board at age 17 years.

Participants.  —Newborns whose weight at birth was below the third percentile were defined as small for gestational age. Their body measurements at age 17 years were compared with those of their peers who were appropriate for gestational age.

Measurements/Main Results.  —The adjusted mean ± SEM height for boys born small for gestational age vs peers born appropriate for gestational age was 169.9±1.5 vs 175.4±0.8 cm (P<.0001); and for girls, 159.4±1.3 vs 163.1 ±0.8 cm (P<.0005). In addition, the risk for height attainment below the 10th percentile was significantly increased for newborns born small for gestational age. The adjusted odds ratio was 4.13 for boys (95% confidence interval, 1.66 to 10.25; P<.0006) and 3.32 for girls (95% confidence interval, 1.38 to 8.05; P<.0005).

Conclusion.  —Infants born small for gestational age may be at increased risk for short stature in late adolescence.(AJDC. 1993;147:337-339)