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Min Yang, Xiangling Deng, Shunan Wang, Bo Zhou, Wenquan Niu, and Zhixin Zhang

Objectives

We aimed to identify and characterize potential factors, both individually and jointly as a nomogram, associated with short stature and pre-shortness in Chinese preschool-aged children.

Methods

Total of 9501 children aged 3–6 years were recruited from 30 kindergartens in Beijing and Tangshan from September to December 2020 using a stratified random sampling method. Effect-size estimates are expressed as odds ratio (OR) and 95% CI.

Results

The prevalence of short stature and pre-shortness in preschool-aged children was 3.9% (n = 375) and 13.1% (n = 1616), respectively. Factors simultaneously associated with the significant risk for short stature, pre-shortness and both included BMI, paternal height, maternal height, birth weight, birth height, latter birth order (≥2) and less parental patience to children. Besides, breastfeeding duration (≥12 months) was exclusively associated with pre-shortness (OR, 95% CI, P: 1.16, 1.01 to 1.33, 0.037), and childhood obesity with both short stature (3.45, 2.62 to 4.54, <0.001) and short stature/pre-shortness (1.37, 1.15 to 1.64, <0.001). Modeling of significant factors in nomograms had descent prediction accuracies, with the C-index being 77.0, 70.1 and 71.2% for short stature, pre-shortness and both, respectively (all P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Our findings indicate the joint contribution of inherited characteristics, nutrition status from the uterus to childhood, and family psychological environment to short stature and pre-shortness in Chinese preschool-aged children. Further validation in other independent groups is warranted.