Objective : To examine growth, body composition, and nutritional status in a large sample of children, adolescents, and young adults with Crohn's disease (CD).
Methods: One hundred thirty-two subjects (48 females) with CD, aged 5 to 25 years, and 66 healthy control subjects (37 females) of similar age. Growth, nutritional status, and body composition were measured by anthropometry and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Genetic potential of linear growth was predicted using the adjusted heights of Himes et al. Pubertal status and skeletal age were assessed. Average Pediatric Crohn's Disease Activity Index (PCDAI) and lifetime steroid exposure (in milligrams per day) were obtained from medical charts. The variables were examined in relation to gender and measures of disease activity.
Results: Males and females with CD did not differ by age, disease duration, or PCDAI. Males with CD had significantly lower values for growth and nutritional status than control subjects (z- scores for weight: −0.66 ± 1.18 vs. 0.26 ± 0.95, P = 0.00002; height −0.81 ± 1.14 vs. 0.28 ± 0.93, P = 0.00001; adjusted height −1.05 ± 1.03 vs. 0.40 ± 1.03, P = 0.00001) and delayed skeletal age of 0.9 ± 1.6 years. Impaired linear growth in the males was present regardless of pubertal stage. Associations between disease severity indicators and growth parameters were more consistent for females.
Conclusions: Crohn's disease is associated with impaired growth. Despite similarities in disease duration, activity, and lifetime steroid exposure, growth in males was more impaired. Gender may confer risk for impaired growth in CD.
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Children's Memorial Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois; *Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Received October 6, 1999;
revised December 29, 1999; accepted March 21, 2000.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Timothy A. Sentongo, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Children's Memorial Medical Center, 2300 Children's Hospital, Box 65, Chicago, IL 60614-3394, U.S.A.