The Wessex Growth Study: first report

Acta Paediatr Scand Suppl. 1989;349:65-72; discussion 81-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1989.tb17171.x.


The Wessex Growth Study is a community-based longitudinal survey of short children recruited from two Health Districts in Wessex during 1985-86 (cohort I) and 1986-87 (cohort II). Screening of new school entrants during 1985-86 identified only 1.3% who were at or below the 3rd centile for height as defined by Tanner and Whitehouse, suggesting a strong secular trend and an urgent need for updated height charts. After exclusion of the small number of children with underlying organic pathology and those from ethnic minorities, there were 84 children in cohort I on whom this report is based. These apparently normal, short children were sex- and age-matched with normal controls (10th-90th centile) from the same school class. Forty-two per cent of cohort I had a delayed bone age, and 34% lay above the 3rd centile after correction for parental height. Forty-four per cent were of low birth weight. The correlation between two successive height velocities measured at 6 and 12 months was only -0.14 for cohort I and -0.15 for their controls. Twelve-month mean height velocity SD scores (SDS) were -0.45 and +0.25, respectively, corresponding to the 33rd and 60th centiles, and rather higher than the 25th and 50th centiles expected in view of the heights of these children. Thirty-eight per cent of cohort I had a 12-month height velocity below the 25th centile, and in 16% height velocity was below the 10th centile. As a group, the children in cohort I grew more slowly than their controls, but the height velocity in 88% of cases lay within the control range.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Determination by Skeleton
  • Body Height*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Reference Values