Home > Journals > Minerva Pediatrica > Past Issues > Articles online first > Minerva Pediatrica 2015 Nov 19





A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,532



Minerva Pediatrica 2015 Nov 19

language: English

Physically less active children are shorter

Meinhardt U., Witassek F., Petrò R., Fritz C., Eiholzer U.

Center for Pediatric Endocrinology Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland


AIM: Current concepts of linear growth include genetic, endocrine and nutritional factors. Limited and controversial results exist regarding the effect of physical activity (PA) on linear growth. In 2009 we showed that PA promotes foot length in hypoactive children with Prader- Willi-Syndrome (J Pediatr. 2009 Feb). In the present study we tested the hypothesis that PA related epiphyseal loading has a positive modulating effect on linear growth in healthy school children.
METHODS: In 99 healthy schoolchildren, we measured height, foot length and PA by tri-axial accelerometry. PA related epiphyseal loading was expressed as the product between mass (body weight) and acceleration (vector magnitude). Correlation between height, foot length and PA were calculated taking into account co-variables age, sex, parental height, lean and fat mass measured by DEXA.
RESULTS: Height SDS (p<0·015, r=0·245) as well as foot length SDS (p<0·001, r=0·363) correlated with PA. Multiple linear regression models showed that muscle mass expressed by lean body mass has higher correlation with PA, height SDS and foot length SDS than fat mass.
CONCLUSION: This study shows that physically less active children are shorter and have shorter feet. In analogy to the “muscle bone unit”, we propose a “muscle epiphyseal unit” which regulates local bone growth as long as epiphyseal plates are still open.

top of page

Publication History

Cite this article as

Corresponding author e-mail