BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
Data on stature in Saudi children and adolescents are limited. The objective of this report was to establish the national prevalence of short stature in Saudi children and adolescents.
DESIGN AND SETTING:
Community-based, cross-sectional study conducted over 2 years (2004, 2005)
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
The national data set of the Saudi reference was used to calculate the stature for age for children and adolescents 5 to 18 years of age. Using the 2007 World Health Organization (WHO) reference, the prevalence of moderate and severe short stature was defined as the proportion of children whose standard deviation score for stature for age was less than -2 and -3, respectively. In addition, the 2000 Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the older 1978 National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)/WHO references were used for comparison.
Using the 2007 WHO reference, sample size in the Saudi reference was 19 372 healthy children and adolescents 5 to 17 years of age, with 50.8% being boys. The overall prevalence of moderate and severe short stature in boys was 11.3% and 1.8%, respectively; and in girls, 10.5% and 1.2%, respectively. The prevalence of moderate short stature was 12.1%, 11% and 11.3% in boys and 10.9%, 11.3% and 10.5% in girls when the 1978 WHO, the 2000 CDC and the 2007 WHO references were used, respectively.
The national prevalence of short stature in Saudi children and adolescents is intermediate compared with the international level. Improvement in the socioeconomic and health status of children and adolescents should lead to a reduction in the prevalence of short stature.