Our Ever-Changing Heights: A Few Facts About How We Grow (and Shrink)

Our Ever-Changing Heights: A Few Facts About How We Grow (and Shrink)

Health Risks and Advantages That Come with Being Tall, Part 2 Reading Our Ever-Changing Heights: A Few Facts About How We Grow (and Shrink) 3 minutes Next Were the Vikings Actually Tall?

You Grow the Fastest in Your 1st Year of Life

Our fastest rate of growth is in our first year of life. On average, most babies add 10 inches to their birth height by the time they hit the age of one. The second highest growth rate is during adolescence, though it is nowhere near as rapid as babies’ growth.

You grow more during sleep

Ever feel like your kid or niece or nephew are growing overnight? That’s because they actually are. Most growth hormones are released during sleep. All the more reason to make sure your kids or the kids in your life are getting enough rest.

Your Height Changes All Day Long

Just like how weight fluctuates during the day, so does your height. You are at your tallest when you wake up and you can be up to a centimeter shorter by the end of the day. This is because gravity takes it toll on us and compresses the discs in the spine. As you sleep, your spine decompresses, regaining the height loss.

Genes Aren’t Everything

Between 60 to 80 percent of your height is determined by genetics. The rest of your height is dependent on environmental factors. The most important environmental factor that contributes to height is nutrition. A healthy supply of vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy and whole grains are all needed for an individual to reach their full height.

What Stunts Growth

Medical issues such as food allergies, hormone imbalances and issues with vital organs can all stunt a child’s growth. Another growth stunt is cigarettes. A study in the Annals of Epidemiology found that boys who smoked frequently during their teen years (ages 12 – 17) were about an inch shorter on average than their non-smoking peers.

When Shrinking Occurs

Pretty much everyone is aware that as you grow older, your height decreases. What most people don’t realize is that this shrinking can start as early as the age 40. Height decreases a half an inch each decade after that. Shrinkage happens because the discs in your spine lose water and begin to compress. Osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease, can make the problem worse. One way to combat shrinkage is working on your posture through stretching and back strength exercises like yoga.