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The Science Behind: Height growth (Cover- Ishita Aggarwal)

Some are tall,some short and some are somewhere in the middle of it. For some, it's a characteristic of their physical appearance that makes them feel inferior. And then there are those who embrace it and make it a reason for their confidence. Your height can tell a lot about your lifestyle, the atmosphere you live in and in most cases it's just genetic. There are numerous anomalies which make us question the ideal height for every individual. Quite fascinating if you ask me. Although it is quiet a common aspect, no one really questions or reasons about it because that assume that its something they can't control.

The main source of a person’s height is their genetic makeup. Scientists believe that this genetic makeup (DNA) is responsible for 80% of of our overall height. However, there are other factors can influence height growth during the developing phase of your body which includes nutrition, hormones, activity levels, and medical conditions. Normally, people grow until they reach 18 years of age and until that time many environmental factors of our lives also plays are role in determining how tall we grow

Fun fact: We grow the fastest in the first 9 months of life, before being born. After birth, our growth slows down.

Infants, kids and children grow with celerity which is due to the change in growth plates in the long bones of their legs and arms. As the growth plates starts to add on new bones, their arms and legs get longer and, therefore, they get taller.

But, with that said, teenagers will have a “growth spurt” during the time of puberty. After that, the growth plates stop making new bones, and the we stop growing. The hands and feet stop growing first, then the arms and legs. The last area to stop growing is our spine.

Due to these aging processes, people begin to lose their height gradually as they get older.

Now coming to hormones, there are three main hormones that contribute in our height growth:

  • Growth hormones: The most important hormone for growth. A few health conditions can limit the amount of growth hormones our body releases, and this can impact our height. Children with a rare genetic condition known as the congenital growth hormone deficiency, for example, will grow at a much slower rate than other kids their age.

  • Thyroid hormones: These release hormones that influence growth.

  • Sex hormones: Testosterone and estrogen are two very essential hormones for growth during puberty.

The last aspect responsible for height growth is our gender. Males tend to be taller than females. Some scientific theories proposed years ago that it is due to men doing more muscular work like farming, construction labor etc. But now days its more of corporate and office work with not much of "muscular work." And thus, the average height for men has decreased since the past 100 years. But that's a totally different story.

Hope you found the article useful:)

May the curiosity consume you,



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