ad info

CNNin
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 AIDS
 Alternative
 Cancer
 Diet & Fitness
 Heart
 Men
 Seniors
 Women
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
Health

Short children can add 2 inches with growth hormone, study finds

Hormone
A new study says children who take growth hormones until adulthood add about 2 inches  

February 17, 1999
Web posted at: 8:36 p.m. EST (0136 GMT)

From Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen

BOSTON (CNN) -- Should short children take synthetic growth hormone to make them grow taller, even if there's nothing medically wrong with them?

The debate has raged among pediatricians for years. And now a study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that boys and girls who take growth hormone until adulthood will add only about 2 inches to their height.

For the study, researchers tracked the progress of 80 children who took synthetic growth hormone until they became adults.

On average, the boys were expected to grow to a height of 5 feet 3 inches without hormone supplements; with them, they grew to an average of 5 feet 5 inches. Girls experienced a similar level of growth, on average moving from an expected 4 feet 10 inches to 5 feet tall.

The study was funded, in part, by a drug company that makes synthetic growth hormone.

The question for parents and doctors is whether taking hormone shots for years is worth it to add just 2 extra inches to a child's height. While the drug does not have any known serious side effects, it costs $20,000 a year. Some insurance companies will pay for it, but others won't.

The senior author of the study, Dr. Raymond Hintz of Stanford University, says there are psychological reasons for taking growth hormone.

"Part of the problem is, of course, our society's attitude toward short stature," he says. "Along with sexism and ageism, there is height-ism in our society."

But Dr. Sharon Oberfield of Columbia University says she is worried about the unknown, long-term risks of giving children growth hormones for purely cosmetic reasons.

"I think you can be a very happy short child, and you can be a very unhappy tall child," she says. "I think there are many more things to happiness than just one's height."


CNN Indepth Section:
Children

RELATED STORIES:
Use of growth hormone for children debated
August 20, 1996

RELATED SITES:
New England Journal of Medicine
Growth Hormone: Not for All Short Children
Endocrinology and Short Stature
Stanford Home Page: Welcome to Stanford University
Columbia University in the City of New York
>
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

LATEST HEALTH STORIES:
Study: Geography separates doctors on heart attack treatments
 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.