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Height and body proportions in child abuse.
  1. J K Wales,
  2. S M Herber,
  3. L S Taitz
  1. Department of Paediatrics, Sheffield Children's Hospital.


    Abused children are said to retain 'infantile body proportions'. The presenting height, sitting height, and leg length standard deviation scores of 91 victims have been calculated from data derived from a study of local inner city schoolchildren. In the study population 31/91 (34%) were significantly short and all but two of these had relatively shorter legs than backs, this limb disproportion being significant in 17. In 25 patients of the original group followed up after various social interventions there was a significant recovery of leg length. Measurement of height and proportionality, especially when compared with appropriate modern or local standards, is an important means of detecting and following up victims of child abuse.

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