Your kid’s height-challenged? No big deal

By Michelle Anderson • Published: November 23rd, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Is your child so short he has to look up to look down?

No need to worry.

New research shows that there will likely be no lasting effects from your child’s exposure to short jokes.

The University of Michigan study found that short children reported being teased only slightly more than other children.

What’s more, the teasing didn’t make them any less popular than other kids or mean they had fewer friends.

And the study showed they were no more likely than other children to show signs of depression.

Some parents worry so much about their children being teased that they ask that the child be given growth hormones, even when not medically necessary, the researchers said.

The study looked at more than seven hundred sixth-graders who were part of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

It included questions about depression, optimism and popularity and also weighed teachers’ and children’s perceptions about peer victimization and teasing.

The study defined “short” as being below the tenth percentile on standardized growth charts.

Teachers reported no difference in peer victimization, though shorter children perceived being victimized slightly more than other children did.

Even with that, the shorter kids fared no worse than peers, researchers said.

While younger children suffer no ill effects from being teased about their height, once they become young teens… by about eighth grade… such slings may be more painful.

Parents should discuss any concerns about a child’s height with a pediatrician, the researchers say.