These conditions indicate a problem with the child's physiology and are grouped into three categories: Systemic, Endocrine and Congenital.

  1. Systemic
    Systemic conditions affect the whole body.

  2. Endocrine
    The endocrine system is controlled by the body's glands. It is responsible for growth and other body functions. Different failures of the endocrine system can cause growth failure. Perhaps the most familiar endocrinological cause for short stature, though not necessarily the most common, is a decreased production level of the growth hormone, Somatotropin. Somatotropin is produced by the pituitary gland. Children who do not have enough growth hormone are the most likely candidates for Human Growth Hormone treatment. For more information on endocrine diseases and growth, see Hormone System.

  3. Congenital
    Congenital conditions occur before a baby is born. Babies who are born prematurely or are slightly under weight at birth usually catch up during the first 2 to 3 years of age. By that time they should reach the normal range of height and weight, not-with-standing other medical conditions. However, full-term babies who are much smaller than expected at birth (under 4 pounds) may remain small throughout life. There is no treatment that is known to be consistently effective in increasing height for Congenital conditions.

    There are hundred's of forms of dwarfism and skeletal dysplasias that may cause a child to be very short for the remainder of his or her life. While there may be treatments to help the child live a healthier life, there are no known cures that will result in a normal height. For more information, see our section on Dwarfism.