Humans come in all shapes and sizes, as well as in varying heights. These factors are primarily dictated by your genes. If you have taller-than-average parents, chances are you’ll be tall, too.
Your genes can also determine when you’ll experience growth spurts, which can sometimes make some people much taller than their peers at the same age.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with being tall. Many of the concerns with being taller than others derive from negative — and very much outdated — stereotypes.
In rare cases, there may be underlying medical issues that make some children grow taller than usual at a noticeably young age. Unless you have a medical concern, you should never try to stop yourself from growing taller.
Keep reading to learn more about how we grow and what determines how tall we’ll be.
In short, there isn’t a way you can limit how tall you’ll be unless there’s an underlying medical issue at hand.
Concerns over being “too tall” primarily stemmed from psychosocial considerations that were prominent between the 1950s and 1990s.
In the United States, such concerns were often aimed at adolescent girls whose parents were concerned their daughters might become too tall and possibly not get married.
Such fears stemmed from the sexist idea that women weren’t supposed to be taller than men. These concerns were significant enough that some families opted for hormone treatments for their daughters via estrogen.
It was thought that estrogen therapy could help “stop” girls from growing taller. However,
While attitudes surrounding marriage and the “ideal” partner have certainly evolved, there may be other areas of concern surrounding height that are medically relevant.
These include medical conditions that cause children to grow tall too quickly, such as Marfan syndrome and pituitary gland tumors.
Unless you have a legitimate medical concern, you should not try to stop growing taller.
Some of the benefits of being tall
- Looking older when you’re younger.
- More confidence and success at work.
- A lower risk of certain conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Being able to reach tall objects and see over crowds.
- A greater advantage in certain sports, such as basketball and baseball.
On the flipside, some people are concerned that they might be shorter than average. These may be caused by medical conditions and are usually detected during childhood. Some of the causes include:
- pituitary gland disorders that decrease human growth hormones
- an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
- Turner syndrome, a rare female chromosomal disorder that results in delayed puberty and short stature
- achondroplasia, an extremely rare bone growth disorder that prevents cartilage of the limbs from becoming bone
Treatment for a shorter than average stature depends on the underlying cause, and it must be evaluated before adulthood.
Human growth hormones may help increase height in children who have hormone deficiencies. Surgery may also be helpful in cases of achondroplasia.
Your genes are the primary factors that govern how tall you’ll be.
Your genes play the most important role
Such genetics can vary based on region and ethnicity, too. Chances are, if your parents are taller or shorter than average, then you’ll end up being around the same height.
However, there are also some gray areas to consider. For example, if you have one tall and one short parent, your own height may end up being somewhere in between.
It’s also not out of the realm of possibilities to be an anomaly in your family, where you may be significantly taller or shorter than everyone else.
Childhood nutrition and health factor in
Childhood nutrition and overall health play other factors in determining your height. Developed countries have witnessed increasing heights in their populations thanks to better access to food and health care.
On the flipside, poor nutrition, inadequate health care, and premature birth can all contribute to a shorter than average stature.
As you age, hormones become crucial drivers of growth. Human growth hormones produced in the pituitary gland are the most influential, followed by sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone) and thyroid hormones.
Gender also makes a difference
A final consideration is your gender. Girls sometimes grow quicker than boys at the same age due to hitting puberty about 2 years earlier. However, boys tend to have larger growth spurts overall. This results in adult men being about 5 inches taller than adult women.
You should talk to a doctor if you have any concerns about your height. They can rule out the possibility of any underlying medical conditions. They’ll also likely offer reassurance about being taller.
It’s also important to see your doctor for a physical every single year. If you’re a parent, a pediatrician can determine where your child falls on a growth chart compared to other children their age.
Some children grow quicker (and end up being taller) than their peers, but this doesn’t usually indicate a medical problem. Your doctor will let you know if your individual height and growth rate indicates any concerns.
Despite some social and cultural perceptions on height, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being tall. To gauge how tall you’ll be, look to your parents’ own heights as a guide.
In rare cases, a medical condition might make you extremely taller than what’s considered “normal.” Your doctor can help determine whether your taller-than-average height is of any concern.
Unless you’re being treated for a medical condition that contributes to your tall stature, there isn’t any treatment that stops you from achieving your full height. If concerns persist, talk to your doctor for advice.