Arch Dis Child 78:474-476 doi:10.1136/adc.78.5.474
  • Original article

Effect of growth hormone on height, weight, and body composition in Prader-Willi syndrome


AIMS To evaluate the effect of the administration of growth hormone on stature, body weight, and body composition in children aged between 4 and 10 years with Prader-Willi syndrome.

METHODS Height, weight, and skinfold thickness were recorded in 25 children using standard anthropometric techniques at recruitment, and six months later, shortly before the start of daily subcutaneous injections of growth hormone. Body composition was assessed via a measurement of total body water using stable isotopes. Measurements were repeated at the end of the six months of growth hormone administration. Measurements of height, weight, and skinfold thickness were expressed as standard deviation scores (SDSs).

RESULTS There was a significant reduction in the percentage of body fat after growth hormone treatment; height velocity doubled during treatment; body weight did not change significantly when expressed as an SDS. Skinfold thickness at both the triceps and subscapular site decreased in absolute terms and when expressed as an SDS.

CONCLUSIONS These results indicate sufficient potential benefit to justify a more prolonged trial of growth hormone treatment and an exploration of different dosage regimens in children with Prader-Willi syndrome.