It’s amazing how at birth most babies are of similar length, yet by the time they reach adulthood the differences in height are considerable.
For parents who are curious about what height their child will be in the future, there are two ways you can try to work it out. As a rough estimate, adult height can be estimated pretty well by doubling the height that was achieved at 2 years of age. The other formula used by endocrinologists to predict the goal height of children is used by our Kid’s height calculator. Try it out for yourself!
What factors determine height?
There’s a long list of genes that have an influence on our height. Our height is a quantitative trait, which means it is measured in quantity and controlled by our genes and environment.
Typically, a person’s height reflects the heights of their parents. Environment can also have a big influence. Up to 80% of the difference in height between individuals is because of genetics, whereas 20-40 % is due to environment.
This may sound confusing but let us try to make it simpler:
If the average height for men is 178 cm and there is a man who is 183 cm tall (i.e. he is 5 cm taller than the average) then 80 % of that height difference (4 cm) can be because of his genetic make-up; and 20 % (1 cm) due to the nutrition he received as a child.
Nutrition has an effect on how our body forms and grows, so at crucial growing phases in the early years our bodies need the right nutrients to fulfil long-term growth potential. Mothers-to-be need to ensure their diet is nutritious and supports the growth of their baby in utero (in the womb).
For toddlers and growing children an adequate diet is equally important.
Your doctor will use a growth chart to track your baby’s growth. This has two advantages:
It will show you how your baby is growing compared to other babies of the same age and gender.
It will also allow doctors and nurses to see the pattern of height and weight gain over time, and if your baby is developing proportionately.
More about the formula
For boys: Take each parent’s height in centimetres and add them together.
Divide that number by 2. Add 6.5 cm to the number if using metric. This number is the mid-parental height for boys. This number plus or minus 10 cm is the range in which you could expect your son to fall.
For girls: Take each parent’s height using centimetres and add them together. Divide that number by 2. Subtract 6.5 cm from the number if using metric. This number is the mid-parental height for girls. This number plus or minus 10 cm is the range in which you could expect your daughter to fall.