A height screening programme for primary school children in the UK could better identify illnesses that affect growth, say researchers.
The UK height screening programme was downgraded 10 years ago due to a lack of evidence of health benefits and cost-effectiveness.
Gary Butler from the University of Reading Institute of Health Sciences said: "We are failing to identify growth and obesity problems in children in the UK because we do not measure children early enough and often enough.
"The evidence we have now suggests that if we don't identify problems until children are older, it is often too late to help."
The researchers believe implementing an early growth-screening programme would identify an additional one in 500 children with growth problems, which would otherwise remain unrecognised.
They add, that such a programme would be 100% cost effective.
Gary Butler said: "It is essential that this evidence is used to form an urgent revision of children's growth screening guidelines by policy makers in the UK."
"As a school nurse this for years was a common practice in primary school at P1 4 and 7. Nothing in secondary school unless indicated. Now it is thought only necessary to do it in P1. A resourse reason. The school health service already under resourced in Glasgow would need more workers if this was to be reintroduced." - Susan Lindsay, School Health
"Yes, I would welcome a height-screening programme!" - Carmel Deacy, Middlesborough