Growth acceleration and final height after treatment for delayed diagnosis of celiac disease

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1990 Oct;11(3):324-9. doi: 10.1097/00005176-199010000-00007.


The only presenting clinical feature of diagnosing celiac disease (CD) late may be short stature. At the start of treatment with a gluten-free diet (GFD), celiac children show an accelerated growth rate. The real duration of catch-up growth and influence of diet on the final stature has not yet been defined. In order to evaluate the effect of a GFD on growth parameters, 24 children diagnosed late with CD were studied at our center. During the period of diagnosis, weight, height standard deviation score (HSDS), weight and height velocities (WV and HV), bone age (BA), and pubertal stage were recorded. Predicted height (PH) according to the Tanner method, parental height, and target height (TH) were also evaluated at diagnosis. All patients initially presented because of short stature or retarded growth (100% of patients with height less than 5th percentile). Patients showed an increased HV and WV during the first 3 years on a GFD, with maximum growth velocity occurring during the first year, but the catch-up growth was incomplete over 3 years (mean HSDS +/- SD, -1.77 +/- 0.6). Puberty began in all patients at a normal age. The 12 patients who completed pubertal development reached their target height, whatever the duration of the GFD. The final height (between the 1st and 25th percentile) seemed influenced mainly by familial characteristics; height was below the 3rd percentile in 31% of parents examined.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Height*
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Celiac Disease / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Glutens / adverse effects*
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Male


  • Glutens