Human Height – A Question Of Genetics Or Nutrition

Recent studies in human population indicate that the Dutch hold the record of being the tallest race in the world. It is surprising because until a few decades ago its name featured in the list of the countries with the shortest people. What makes the difference? Is it environmental factors such as climate and nutrition or is it our genetic makeup? You can find out below.

The Two Stages of Human Growth

We are all familiar with one growth phase in humans that is puberty, but it is not the only stage when growth occurs in humans. Consider how a baby grows. An infant grows into a toddler. Most of the development takes place between 2 and 5 years. The baby grows in terms of weight and height, but more than weight there is an increase in your little one’s height. By the age of 1, he measures almost twice his birth length.

Puberty is the next major growth phase in humans. Girls hit puberty earlier than boys. Height increase is an important characteristic of this phase in addition to other body developments. Girls continue to grow taller until 18 years while boys can keep adding inches until 21 years.

Genetics or Nutrition

Genetics and nutrition are the two most important factors that determine how tall an individual will grow as an adult. However, many ask which factor is in a stronger position to influence one’s height.

Unfortunately for many, it is genetics. Nutrition is a secondary factor. If you we were asked to put it in figures, the ratio of genetics to nutrition can be expressed as 80:20 or 60:40. Height heritability may also differ between men and women. As a result, the height of the children can be estimated by taking into account the height of both the parents. What we get is the mean and the actual results may vary.

Saying that genetic factors have an upper hand does not necessarily imply that environmental factors such as nutrition do not have an impact on how tall you will grow. They influence an individual’s height to a lesser degree. You can increase growth potential by eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Steps to Grow Taller

If your parents are short and if you fear you might remain short like them too, there is no need to worry. Here’s how you can support your body’s natural growth capacity.

  • Eat a diet rich in proteins right since childhood.
  • Your diet should be an abundant source of Vitamins A, B and D.
  • Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron are minerals that will prevent stunted growth.
  • You should exercise regularly. Stretch exercises elongate the spine. They also develop and strengthen the bone structure.
  • Adequate sleep is also a must as it indirectly controls the production of the Human Growth Hormone. If you want to grow taller, you should get minimum 8 hours of sleep; teenagers should get 10 hours.
  • If after putting all these efforts into practice you still do not notice any change, you should see a doctor. There might be an underlying ailment or illness that’s inhibiting your ultimate stature.

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