A person with short stature, or restricted growth, does not grow as tall as other people of the same gender, age, and ethnicity. The person's height is below the 3rd percentile.
Short stature can be a variant of normal growth, or it may indicate a disorder or condition.
Growth rate is an important indicator of overall health. Children who do not reach the 5th percentile by the age of 5 years are said to be small for gestational age (SGA). A pediatrician will look out for signs of "failure to thrive."
Early intervention can prevent future problems in many cases.
Normally, at 8 years of age, a child's arm span is around the same as their height. If these measurements are out of proportion, this may be a sign of disproportionate short stature (DSS), sometimes known as "dwarfism."
Fast facts on short stature
Here are some key points about short stature. More detail is in the main article.