Twice as many boys use growth hormone as girls

April 21st, 2008 - 10:37 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 21 (IANS) Boys in the US and Japan are twice as likely to use hormones for growth and illnesses that affect height and short stature of a non-medical nature, study has revealed. A smaller gender difference exists in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, but elsewhere short boys and girls are treated at the same rate.

Recombinant human growth hormone (RhGH) has been available since 1985. “Because reports found more US males receiving it in its first years of availability, and use has increased considerably over the past 20 years, we thought it was important to get an up-dated look and see how they compared to other countries,” said Adda Grimberg of the Children’s Hospital Philadelphia and co-author of a study.

“We suspect that social and cultural pressures, combined with financial constraints, contribute to such global differences in the gender distributions of children treated with rhGH.”

Historical trends revealed a consistent overall male predominance among US paediatric rhGH recipients at a nearly two-to-one ratio.

Comparing the US experience with global patterns revealed that Asia (mostly Japan) had the greatest male predominance at 65 percent, followed closely by the US at 64 percent.

Europe, Australia and New Zealand came third at 55 percent.

Grimberg’s earlier research at a US paediatric endocrinology clinic showed a disturbing statistic: that 41 percent girls were found to have an underlying disease that made them short, compared to 15 percent of the boys.

Conversely, 38 percent of the boys were within normal height ranges, compared to 20 percent of the girls, and boys were referred for evaluation about twice as often as girls.

The study is available online prior to publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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