Objective: To find the effectiveness of growth screening of 6 and 7-year olds in primary care and the characteristics of slow growth found.
Design: Crossover, observational study.
Patients: 6 to 7-year old population attended at 8 health centres in the province of Barcelona.
Interventions: Exploration of height and weight. The population with height=percentile 3 was referred to the paediatric endocrinologist for diagnosis.
Results: 2306 children (45% of the population attended) were screened. 73 had low height (3.5%). Of these, 8.2% did not attend the appointment with the endocrinologist; 5.5% had been wrongly measured, and for 19% no definite diagnosis could be reached. 49 cases were classified as cases of slow growth: 11 organic and 38 non-organic. The effectiveness of the screening was one unidentified case of slow growth in every 80 children screened.
Conclusions: It would seem advisable to maintain the practice of screening for slow growth in primary care. To improve its efficiency, it is proposed to refer to the specialist only the population with their height under the percentile 0.4. The paediatrics team should deal with non-organic growth disorders.