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What Makes People Grow Taller?
Nature may predetermine a significant portion of your height, but you may influence your height and grow taller by practicing a lifestyle that promotes growth. The fact is, studies show that being taller could affect your earning power -- an additional $789 per year for each inch of your height, according to the work of University of Florida’s Timothy Judge. Taller people are believed to enjoy higher salaries, higher social status and more respect throughout their lives.
You can determine the heritability of your height by estimating how similar your height is to your relatives. Scientific American reports that genetic factors determine approximately 60 to 80 percent of the difference in height between persons. A study in “Twin Research” reports that the heritability of height is relatively constant throughout eight “affluent Western” populations. The study shows that the heritability of height may be as high as 87 to 93 percent in Western populations like Italy and the Netherlands.
According to a Scientific American article, environmental factors, particularly nutrition, may contribute 20 to 40 percent of your height. The results of a study published in the “Journal of Nutrition” show consuming more calories after infancy in childhood stimulates growth. The study found that an additional 100 kilocalories of food was associated with a height increase of .03 inches for boys and girls between 2 and 18 years old. The researchers note that the affect of dietary calories may influence height more earlier in life, because the correlations between caloric energy intake and height went down with age.
Physical activity may influence your height. A study published in “Sports Medicine” reports that exercise can facilitate growing taller and exercise is necessary for growth associated with repairing tissues in your body after exercise. Prolonged exercise can stunt your height, because your body requires more nutrients for repairing tissues instead of increasing your height. Healthy exercise supports growing taller because it provides stress that is necessary for shaping your musculoskeletal system.
Human Growth Hormone
Your pituitary gland produces and secretes growth hormone. Growth hormone stimulates your liver and other tissues to release substances that subsequently stimulate cartilage production. Your body requires cartilage cells for bone growth that supports growing taller. Excessive exposure to growth hormone can cause giantism, a rare disease that begins in childhood or adolescence. Excessive growth hormone levels in adults can result in a disease known as acromegaly, which may be caused by noncancerous tumors in the pituitary gland.
Testosterone levels influence your height. The Medical News reports that testosterone deficiency in teenage boys can stunt growth. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that testosterone treatment can stimulate height growth. The study’s researchers conclude that low doses of testosterone can stimulate height increases in adolescent boys with delayed growth and development.
- Scientific American: How Much of Human Height is Genetic and How Much is Due to Nutrition?
- Pub Med: The Effects of Exercise of Growth
- Colorado State University: Growth Hormone
- NEJM: Testosterone Treatment in Adolescent Boys with Constitutional Delay in Growth and Development
- The Medical News: Testosterone Mechanism
- Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images