Should every short stature child be tested to see if he or she has celiac disease? The answer, according to many medical researchers, is a resounding “yes.”
People are considered to be of short stature if they’re among the shortest 3 to 5% of the population. Short stature can sometimes be normal, but sometimes it can be related to a medical problem — and it’s increasingly being recognized that short stature can be a symptom of celiac disease. In fact, it can sometimes be the only symptom of celiac disease.
In the December 2007 issue of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, doctors in India who studied children with short stature reported that 15% of the children had celiac disease. Indeed, the doctors discovered that celiac disease was the single most common cause of short stature in the children in this particular study.
In the 1990s, Italian researchers who studied a group of children with short stature found that 59% of them had celiac disease. Celiac disease had already been linked to short stature in earlier studies of children in Italy, as well as in studies in Brazil and Iran.
None of the children with celiac disease and short stature in any of these studies had any gastrointestinal symptoms of celiac disease.
Some doctors refer to Short Stature as ‘Failure to Thrive’ which can occur in infants as low or slow developmental growth or low weight and height on the charts. And in children it manifests itself as delayed growth, short stature or a delayed puberty when they reach young adulthood.
However, what I find interesting is that after looking at the top three Internet sites under ‘Failure to Thrive’ as the one listed below, NONE of them even mention celiac disease or gluten intolerance as a possibility. They say:
There are multiple medical causes of failure to thrive. These include:
• Chromosome abnormalities such as Down syndrome and Turner syndrome
• Defects in major organ systems
• Problems with the endocrine system, such as thyroid hormone deficiency, growth hormone deficiency, or other hormone deficiencies
• Damage to the brain or central nervous system, which may cause feeding difficulties in an infant
• Heart or lung problems, which can affect how oxygen and nutrients move through the body
• Anemia or other blood disorders
• Gastrointestinal problems that result in malabsorption or a lack of digestive enzymes
• Long-term gastroenteritis and gastroesophageal reflux (usually temporary)
• Cerebral palsy
• Long-term (chronic) infections
• Metabolic disorders
• Complications of pregnancy and low birth weight
Other factors that may lead to failure to thrive:
• Emotional deprivation as a result of parental withdrawal, rejection, or hostility
• Economic problems that affect nutrition, living conditions, and parental attitudes
• Exposure to infections, parasites, or toxins
• Poor eating habits, such as eating in front of the television and not having formal meal times
Many times the cause cannot be determined.
My goal as a writer of Gluten Free Living in a Gluten Filled World is Awareness, Awareness, Awareness. If I were a parent and I had a child who was not growing at a normal rate, had a short stature or delayed puberty, I would want to know that a food allergy may be a possibility. And that I could actually do something about it through diet, and not medication or hormones. Why do doctors not know about this? Maybe it is not profitable for the medical industry to prescribe a ‘change of diet.’ Maybe it does not cure the symptoms overnight. But for long term health, naturally, isn’t changing your diet worth a try? I try to drill into my readers how easy Gluten Free Living is. I hope this year, through my articles you are seeing how inexpensive and simple it can be by eating whole foods. Please let me know if you need anything. I am always happy to help.
If you are like me in the morning, waiting on three kids and my husband, you eat most of your breakfasts standing up. Here is an easy way to pick up your oatmeal and eat it!
Baked Oatmeal Bars
3 cups Certified Gluten Free Oats
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 T applesauce
2 T grapeseed oil
1 cup vanilla rice milk
2 large eggs
¾ cup organic sugar
1 large banana
½ T cinnamon
Combined above ingredients into large mixing bowl.
Let stand for 20 minutes
Bake in an 8 X 8 baking dish at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Enjoy for breakfast!