In a cross-sectional study 89 diabetic children with longstanding disease (M ± SD : 6.7 ± 2.3 years) were significantly shorter and heavier than a control group (n = 102). In 1983 we started a prospective multicenter study in children with newly diagnosed D.M. Glycosylated hemoglobin (SDS) and insulin dose (U/kg b.w./day) were determined 3 monthly, height and weight (SDS) 6 monthly and bone age (Greulich-Pyle, SDS) 12 monthly. Mean height and weight of the diabetics and normals were expressed as bivariate plots, the 95%-confidence limits represented by ellipses; no overlapping indicated significant differences. At diagnosis (n = 142) and after 1 year (n = 88) there was no significant difference between the two groups, although the diabetics tended to be slightly underweighted at diagnosis (x SDS : - 0,3) and increased body weight after 1 year (x SDS : + 0.4). After 2 years (n = 61) there was a further weight gain (x SDS : + 0.7). After 3 years (n = 40) - the ellipses did not overlap - the diabetics were significantly shorter (x SDS: - 0.3) and heavier (x SDS: + 0.5) than the control group. After 4 years (n = 15) height reduction was more pronounced (x SDS: - 0.7). Bone age of the diabetics did not differ significantly from the controls at any time. Our results indicate that even with improved therapy significant height reduction of diabetic children occurs as soon as three years after onset of disease.
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