The diagnostic approach in growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is complicated. Two or more provocative tests are essential for definitive diagnosis of GHD. However, such testing cannot be carried out routinely on all subjects with short stature because of the need for hospitalization and blood sampling. A simple screening method for GHD would be of great value. Human growth hormone (hGH) levels were measured in the early morning urine of 192 children aged 7-15 years with height 2.0 s.d. below the mean for their ages. Sixty-eight subjects were selected because they showed a urinary hGH level < 10 ng/g creatinine. They were further examined in terms of bone age and plasma insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) levels. In 30 subjects, the ratio of bone age: chronological age was < 0.8 and/or plasma IGF-I level was < 0.7 U/mL. Finally 24 of these subjects were examined with provocative tests and other endocrinological tests. Eleven subjects proved to have poor growth hormone secretion and one subject was diagnosed as having Turner syndrome. In conclusion, 11 patients with GHD were diagnosed from 192 children with short stature using urinary hGH measurement as the first screening method. These findings suggests that urinary hGH measurement could be a useful and simple method for detecting GHD.