Concerns about 13 3/4 year old boy's growth

Hi - my son, who had historically been at the 25% percentile for height, fell off the growth curve a few years ago and is currently around the 1st percentile for height.  He is nearly 14, but not close to puberty.  His HGH levels are normal, and everything else seems to be normal (his bone age is 12 3/4, which apparently is in the normal range).  According to predictions based on bone age, he will be in the 5'4" - 5'6" range as an adult.  His father is 5'10" and the men in his family tend to be tall (there's also height on the female side of the family), and his twin brother is 5" taller than he is.  He is desperate to get taller, and keeps asking about HGH.  Leaving aside the issue of HGH (we are going to get a second opinion about whether or not this is advisable; specialist recommendations appreciated), has anyone else been told that their son or daughter would be very short based on a prediction from bone age or growth curves, and then had him or her turn out to be taller?  I'm trying to get him to eat more calories and a more nutritional diet in case this has been a factor (he's a vegetarian and very food-averse generally, except as to sugar), but I don't want to promise him he'll get taller if he does.  He's about to start 8th grade, and is acutely aware that he is the smallest boy in his middle school (he looks like he's in the 8-10 range).  Alternatively, are there any parents of young men who are 5'4" - 5'6" and who are ok with it? 

Thanks in advance, 


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Hi. My son is the exact age. He will be 14 very soon.  He has always been below the 5th percentile since birth.  He has always had an upward growth, so pediatrician has never worried.  We did have him tested. We wanted to know if he was hormone delayed or deficient. Test showed he is hormone delayed.  If he was hormone deficient, then getting hormones shots would have helped him.  Being delayed, you don't want to do hormone shots since it can affect his real growth.  Men on my side of the family are all very tall 6.1-6.5. But delayed growth has been a pattern.  He sees Dr. Bhatia, a pediatric endocrinologist. I can highly recommend her. She is with Standords Children's Health in Emeryville. 510-587-9600.  Dr. Bhatia did a good job explaining to my son why he shouldn't get the hormone shots.  My recommendation would be to get the test on delayed vs deficient.  If deficient, getting the hormones will help.  

I hope this helps.

My husband is just under 5'5" and doesn't have hang ups about being short. He's very athletic and is confident. He's a good person, a caring father and husband, and cares about others. Would he be a better person if he were taller? Our younger son is your son's age. He's also on the very short end of the chart. He's healthy, smart, loving, funny, and an exceptional soccer player. I know he'd like to be taller. Height is valued in our society, especially for men.  But we really need to help our children learn that their value is in their character. Please try to help your son love eho he is on the inside. And by the way, I bet he gets taller at puberty. 

The responses you've gotten seem excellent, and I don't want to be alarmist, but you might want to get him a celiac test just to be sure. My nephew was very small and when they finally tested him for celiac it turned out he had it. As soon as he cut out gluten he grew (to be clear this isn't gluten "sensitivity," it's an auto immmune disease and can be easily identified with a blood test).

I second the celiac test recommendation, particularly since he has some food issues. My picky 13-year-old son grew 5 inches and gained 15 pounds in the 5 months after his diagnosis when he switched to a gluten free diet. This took him from the 5th percentile to completely normal. About half of all people with celiac don't have clear symptoms. He probably doesn't have it, but it's worth checking!