Relationship between childhood short stature and academic achievement in adolescents and young adults – a longitudinal study
Article first published online: 15 NOV 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2010 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 46, Issue 11, pages 660–667, November 2010
How to Cite
Tran, U. N., O'Callaghan, M. J., Mamun, A. A., Najman, J. M., Williams, G. M. and Bor, W. (2010), Relationship between childhood short stature and academic achievement in adolescents and young adults – a longitudinal study. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 46: 660–667. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2010.01816.x
- Issue published online: 15 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 15 NOV 2010
- Accepted for publication 18 March 2010.
- body height;
- educational measurement;
- learning disorder
Aim: To determine if short stature at 14 or 21 years and patterns of ‘catch-up’ growth from 5 to 14 or 21 years are related to academic achievement in adolescents.
Methods: The Mater University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy is a longitudinal study of 7223 singleton infants born between 1981 and 1984. Data were available for cross-sectional analyses of 3785 adolescents of whom 2149 were seen as young adults. Longitudinal patterns of growth were examined for 2936 subjects from 5 to 14 years and 1753 subjects from 5 to 21 years.
Results: Adolescents or young adults with height <10th centile had a lower mean Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) score in adolescence and at 21 years than those of normal height (2.7 and 3.0 points, respectively) and increased odds of a WRAT score <85 (1.57 and 1.87, respectively) and learning difficulties (1.61 and 1.78, respectively). For growth patterns from 5 to 14 years, adolescents short at 5 years, irrespective of height at 14 years, had a lower mean WRAT score and increased odds of WRAT score <85 and learning difficulties. However, for growth patterns from 5 to 21 years, only the group short at both ages had increased learning difficulties.
Conclusions: Youth short at 14 years or at 21 years and those persistently short have an increased prevalence of academic difficulties. Catch-up growth by 21, although not 14 years, was associated with improved outcomes.