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Endocr Pract. 2014 Nov;20(11):1113-21. doi: 10.4158/EP14052.OR.

How Short is Too Short According to Parents of Primary Care Patients.

Author information

1
Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
2
Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
3
The Craig-Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
4
Institute for Translational Medicine & Therapeutics; Clinical & Translational Research Center, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
5
Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Height is a physical trait on a continuum. The threshold between normal and abnormal is arbitrarily set but can potentially influence medical decision-making. We sought to examine parents' perceptions of adult heights and associated demographic factors.

METHODS:

Parents of pediatric primary care patients of various heights completed a one-time survey. Parents answered the question "How short is too short?" for adult males and females. The results were summarized as median [interquartile range]. Factors significantly associated with height threshold by simple linear regression were included in a multivariable mixed effects analysis of covariance model.

RESULTS:

A total of 1,820 surveys were completed (83% response rate; 1,587 females, 231 males). The median threshold height deemed too short for adult females was 56 inches [48, 59] among male respondents and 57 inches [50, 60] among females (P<.05). The median threshold height for adult males was 61 inches among males [60, 64] and females [59, 66] (P<.05). The median of male minus female heights per respondent (delta heights) was 5 [2, 7] inches. Factors found to be significant main effects in a parsimonious model were sex of the adult considered, height of respondent, sex of respondent, respondent race, primary care practice, income, and having concerns about their child's height.

CONCLUSION:

Taller acceptable height thresholds were perceived by respondents who were taller, wealthier, white, female, from nonurban practices, or who had a personal concern about their child's height. Male heights were expected to be taller than female heights. Such traits may influence who is concerned and more likely to seek medical treatment for their children.

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