HealthDay News — Growth monitoring programs may help identify children with celiac disease, results of a study published in JAMA Pediatrics indicate.

Celiac disease (CD) is underdiagnosed in the pediatric population in which the presenting features often include faltering linear growth, short stature, or poor weight gain,” wrote Antti Saari, MD, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, and colleagues.

To develop new evidence-based cutoffs for screening growth disorders and to evaluate the performance of these cutoffs among pediatric patients with CD, the investigators conducted a longitudinal retrospective study using growth data from healthy children (the reference population) and children with CD (the cases).

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The researchers found that screening children for five height- and weight-related differences in growth could be an effective means of spotting those with celiac disease. Using all five measures together was more effective than using one alone, noted the scientists.

Compared with children in the general population, girls with celiac disease were shorter two years before their diagnosis, while boys were shorter one year before diagnosis.

“Growth failure remains an early and common feature in patients with celiac disease and an up-to-date growth reference and well-established growth-monitoring program could facilitate the early diagnosis of celiac disease,” concluded the authors.


  1. Saari A et al. JAMA Pediatrics. 2015; doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.25