The main factor that influences a person’s height is their genes. Scientists say that nearly 80% of a person’s height is determined by DNA variants. If both parents are short then there is a chance of the child being short. Indeed, the height of a person is largely related to genes but recent studies have found other factors influencing a person’s height.
In a 2016 study, a group of researchers from Imperial College London, the analysis showed that the world’s tallest man is from the Netherlands and the world’s tallest woman comes from Latvia. According to the International Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) this wasn’t this way.
In 1985’s tallest country in the world rankings, South Korea was in 133rd place but in 2019 it came to the 60th place. The scientific theory says this result was achieved because of South Korea’s improved diet system in recent decades.
Stephen Hsu, professor of computational mathematics, science, and engineering at Michigan State University has researched predicting a person’s height. Hsu says “In South Korea and China, increase in height is seen over the last one to two generations and it is largely due to improved nutrition, during the period intake of protein and calcium have all gone up.”
On the other hand, many countries have fallen on the NCD-RisC list. The United States was 38th in the 1985 rankings but in 2019 it came down to 59th place. The Immigration of people from other countries can be one main factor but it’s not the only one. Apart from immigration, increased consumption of fast food, drinks, and unhealthy food patterns alters the quality of nutrition.
Unhealthy Diet and Illness
Apart from poor nutrition, an unhealthy diet and serious illness in childhood can influence a person’s height. In a 2018 journal “Genetics” Hsu told the importance of genes in the determination of height. With the Help of his team, he used computer algorithms and machine learning techniques to analyze half a million genomes of people living in the United Kingdom. Later, the team accurately predicted a person’s height and bone density from their genes.
Genetic mutation and hormonal imbalance also play a major role in short stature, including dwarfism, an adult of height 4 feet 10 inches or under. Dwarfism is classified into two types
- Disproportionate dwarfism- A condition in which some parts of the body are small.
- Proportionate dwarfism- A condition in which all parts of the body are proportionately smaller than the average.
According to Stanford, both types of dwarfism are genetic and there are nearly 200 genetic variations that can cause these. Contrarily people can grow to be giants. For Example Robert Wadlow, the tallest person in history is about 8 feet, 11.1 inches tall. This type of excessive growth is called gigantism and it can be a sign of cancer. Giantism is caused by a pituitary gland tumor. The pituitary glands secrete more growth hormones leading to gigantism.
Apart from genetics, nutrition and access to a healthy diet especially during childhood can contribute to your growth and height.