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Growth charts for Down's syndrome from birth to 18 years of age
  1. Å Myrelid1,
  2. J Gustafsson1,
  3. B Ollars2,
  4. G Annerén2
  1. 1Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr G Annerén, Department of Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, S-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden;


Background: Growth in children with Down's syndrome (DS) differs markedly from that of normal children. The use of DS specific growth charts is important for diagnosis of associated diseases, such as coeliac disease and hypothyroidism, which may further impair growth.

Aims: To present Swedish DS specific growth charts.

Methods: The growth charts are based on a combination of longitudinal and cross sectional data from 4832 examinations of 354 individuals with DS (203 males, 151 females), born in 1970–97.

Results: Mean birth length was 48 cm in both sexes. Final height, 161.5 cm for males and 147.5 cm for females, was reached at relatively young ages, 16 and 15 years, respectively. Mean birth weight was 3.0 kg for boys and 2.9 kg for girls. A body mass index (BMI) >25 kg/m2 at 18 years of age was observed in 31% of the males and 36% of the females. Head growth was impaired, resulting in a SDS for head circumference of −0.5 (Swedish standard) at birth decreasing to −2.0 at 4 years of age.

Conclusion: Despite growth retardation the difference in height between the sexes is the same as that found in healthy individuals. Even though puberty appears somewhat early, the charts show that DS individuals have a decreased pubertal growth rate. Our growth charts show that European boys with DS are taller than corresponding American boys, whereas European girls with DS, although being lighter, have similar height to corresponding American girls.

  • Down's syndrome
  • growth chart
  • head circumference
  • body mass index
  • BMI, body mass index
  • DS, Down's syndrome

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