Aims: To determine the presence of abnormal body proportion, assessed by sitting height/height ratio for age and sex (SH/H SDS) in healthy and short individuals, and to estimate its role in selecting short children for SHOX analysis. Methods: Height, sitting height and weight were evaluated in 1,771 healthy children, 128 children with idiopathic short stature (ISS), 58 individuals with SHOX defects (SHOX-D) and 193 females with Turner syndrome (TS). Results: The frequency of abnormal body proportion, defined as SH/H SDS >2, in ISS children was 16.4% (95% CI 10-22%), which was higher than in controls (1.4%, 95% CI 0.8-1.9%, p < 0.001). The SHOX gene was evaluated in all disproportionate ISS children and defects in this gene were observed in 19%. Among patients with SHOX-D, 88% of children (95% CI 75-100%) and 96% of adults had body disproportion. In contrast, SH/H SDS >2 were less common in children (48%, 95% CI 37-59%) and in adults (28%, 95% CI 20-36%) with TS. Conclusion: Abnormal body proportions were observed in almost all individuals with SHOX-D, 50% of females with TS and 16% of children considered ISS. Defects in SHOX gene were identified in 19% of ISS children with SH/H SDS >2, suggesting that SH/H SDS is a useful tool to select children for undergoing SHOX molecular studies.

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