Tall stature in children and adolescents

Minerva Pediatr. 2020 Dec;72(6):472-483. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4946.20.05971-X. Epub 2020 Aug 4.


Tall stature is usually defined as a height beyond 97th percentile or more than 2 SD above the mean height for age and sex in a defined population. Familiar tall stature, also known as constitutional tall stature, is the most common cause of tall stature. Overnutrition, obesity, also usually causes overgrowth. Tall stature by itself is not a pathological condition, however, there are a number of disorders associated with tall stature. Some genetic disorders and syndromes may be associated with mental retardation and various complications. Therefore, recognition of tall stature and revealing the underlying pathogenic causes and making the diagnosis are important not to miss the serious conditions and to provide adequate medical care and genetic counseling. Pathological causes for tall statute include endocrine disorders, such as excessive growth hormone secretion, hyperthyroidism, precocious puberty and lipodystrophy, chromosome disorders, such as Trisomy X (47, XXX female), Klinefelter Syndrome (47, XXY), XYY syndrome (47, XYY male) and fragile X syndrome, and syndromes and metabolic disorders, such as Marfan Syndrome, Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome, Simpson-Golabi-Behmel Syndrome, Sotos Syndrome and homocystinuria. Children may require growth-reductive treatment if the predicted adult height would be excessive and unacceptable. Some hormonal, high doses of sex steroids, or surgical, bilateral percutaneous epiphysiodesis of the distal femur and proximal tibia and fibula, treatment is currently available to reduce adult height.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Body Height* / genetics
  • Child
  • Chromosomes, Human, X
  • Endocrine System Diseases / complications
  • Fragile X Syndrome / complications
  • Growth Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Growth Disorders* / etiology
  • Growth Disorders* / genetics
  • Growth Disorders* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / complications
  • Intellectual Disability / etiology
  • Klinefelter Syndrome / complications
  • Overnutrition / complications
  • Puberty, Precocious / complications
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Chromosome Aberrations
  • Sex Chromosome Disorders of Sex Development / complications
  • Trisomy

Supplementary concepts

  • Triple X syndrome