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Are Girls with Turner Syndrome Obese?   Back Bookmark and Share
Montasser Nadeem,EF Roche
Ir Med J. 2013 Jun;106(6):188

Girls with TS may experience high body mass index. Whether high body mass index in those with Turner syndrome are due to overweight or short stature is unclear. We examined weight, height and body mass index in 32 girls with Turner syndrome. Obesity has been reported in those with Turner syndrome (TS)1-3. We aim to examine whether patients with TS who have higher body mass index (BMI), compared with general population, are obese or just short. BMI in 32 girls with TS aged over 12 years was examined. Height and weight were measured. Ethical approval was obtained from our local hospital ethics committee. BMI was calculated using the following equation: BMI= weight (Kg)/height (m)2. The SPSS for Windows software, version 21.0 was used for data analysis. Descriptive statistics were measured. t-Test was used to compare the mean between the groups.


Structural X abnormalities were the commonest chromosomal abnormalities (14/32; 43.75%). Mean (SD) height (cm) was 148.26 (9.01) cm. Of 32 girls, the majority of girls (28/32; 87.5%) received growth hormone (GH). With respect to weight, comparison between girls with TS and age- and sex-matched Irish general population4 was performed. Weight did not differ significantly between patients with TS (mean 54.9 kg; SD 15.71) and general population (mean 52.9; SD 6.5), (p value 0.52). Compared with age-matched Irish general population4, subjects with TS were shorter, with height SDS being -2.1 (p value 0.00). Mean (SD) BMI was 25.02 (6.73), with mean BMI-SDS (0.68) being significantly higher than 0 (p value 0.002). Mean (SD) BMI did not differ significantly between girls with monosomy 45, X [24.91 (2.94)], those with mosiacism sex chromosome without structural abnormalities [23.19 (2.63)] and individuals with X structural abnormalities with or without mosiacism [24.81 (6.4)], (p value 0.79).

We found that girls with TS, of whom the majority received GH, have similar weight, but higher BMI, compared with age- and sex-matched general population. Girls with TS were significantly shorter, compared with general population. This can explain the high BMI in those with TS. In conclusion, high BMI in those with TS may be due to short stature, not to overweight. High BMI in those with TS should be interpreted in the context of short stature.
M Nadeem, EF Roche
Paediatric Department, Trinity College Dublin, AMNCH, Tallaght, Dublin 24
Email: [email protected]

1. Donaldson MD, Gault EJ, Tan KW, Dunger DB. Optimising management in Turner syndrome: from infancy to adult transfer, Arch Dis Child 2006;91:513-20.
2. Bondy CA; Turner Syndrome Study Group. 2007, Care of girls and women with Turner syndrome: a guideline of the Turner Syndrome Study Group, J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2007;92:10-25.
3. Gravholt CH, Juul S, Naeraa RW, Hansen J. Morbidity in Turner Syndrome. J Clin Epidemiol 1998;51:147-15.
4. Hoey HM, Tanner JM, Cox LA. Clinical growth standards for Irish children. Acta Paediatr Scand Suppl 1987;76:1-31.
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