A number of methods exist to predict how tall a child can be after maturity. However, these are invasive, expensive, or relatively imprecise. Previous methods have used secondary sexual characteristics as a marker of maturity, but they lack precision, as well as being invasive. The current 'gold standard', utilizing skeletal age, requires radiological measurement of bone age to account for variation in biological maturity.
Recently a new technique has been developed for prediction of height. The study, published in the October issue of The Journal of Pediatrics was designed to validate and demonstrate how adult height can be predicted by using reference values obtained from maturity and sex-specific cumulative height velocity curves.
For the study, serial height measurements were taken on 224 boys and 120 girls. Individuals were classified as early, average, or late maturers, depending on their age of peak height velocity. Maturity and sex-specific cumulative height velocity curves were developed for early, average, and late maturers, and the area under these curves (AUCs) were used to develop reference values to predict adult height.
The authors claim that this method can predict adult height within ± 5.35 cm 95% of the time in boys and ± 6.81 cm 95% of the time in girls.
The technique is advantageous in that it includes a measure of biological age, and is a valid, non-intrusive, inexpensive, and simple method of predicting adult height in adolescent children, free of growth limiting diseases.