Height is the distance from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head in a human body, standing erect. It is measured using a stadiometer, usually in centimeters when using the metric system, or feet and inches when using the imperial system. A particular genetic profile in men called Y haplotype I-M170 is correlated with height. Ecological data shows that as the frequency of this genetic profile increases in the population, the average male height in a country also increases. Siddha Spirituality of Swami Hardas Life System considers height myths be known to the readers, hence read carefully and know the facts.
The development of human height can serve as an indicator of two key welfare components, namely nutritional quality and health. In regions of poverty or warfare, environmental factors like chronic malnutrition during childhood or adolescence may result in delayed growth and/or marked reductions in adult stature even without the presence of any of these medical conditions. Some research indicates that a greater height correlates with greater success in dating and earning in men, although other research indicates that this does not apply to non-white men.
Height is a sexually dimorphic trait in humans. A study of 20th-century British natality trends indicated that while tall men tended to reproduce more than short men, women of below average height had more children than taller women.
Myths of growth and height
The study of height is known as auxology. Growth has long been recognized as a measure of the health of individuals, hence part of the reasoning for the use of growth charts. For individuals, as indicators of health problems, growth trends are tracked for significant deviations and growth is also monitored for significant deficiency from genetic expectations.
Genetics is a major factor in determining the height of individuals, though it is far less influential in regard to differences among populations. Average height is relevant to the measurement of the health and wellness of populations.
Malnutrition including chronic undernutrition and acute malnutrition is known to have caused stunted growth in various populations. This has been seen in North Korea, parts of Africa, certain historical Europe, and other populations.
Height measurements are by nature subject to statistical sampling errors even for a single individual. In a clinical situation, height measurements are seldom taken more often than once per office visit, which may mean sampling taking place a week to several months apart.
The smooth 50th percentile male and female growth curves illustrated above are aggregate values from thousands of individuals sampled at ages from birth to age 20. In reality, a single individual’s growth curve shows large upward and downward spikes, partly due to actual differences in growth velocity, and partly due to small measurement errors.
Humans grow fastest (other than in the womb) as infants and toddlers, rapidly declining from a maximum at birth to roughly age 2, tapering to a slowly declining rate, and then during the pubertal growth spurt, a rapid rise to a second maximum (at around 11–12 years for female, and 13–14 years for male), followed by a steady decline to zero.
On average, female growth speed trails off to zero at about 15 or 16 years, whereas the male curve continues for approximately 3 more years, going to zero at about 18–19. These are also critical periods where stressors such as malnutrition (or even severe child neglect) have the greatest effect.
The health of a mother throughout her life, especially during her critical period and pregnancy, has a role. A healthier child and adult develops a body that is better able to provide optimal prenatal conditions. The pregnant mother’s health is important for herself but also for the fetus as gestation is itself a critical period for an embryo/fetus, though some problems affecting height during this period are resolved by catch-up growth assuming childhood conditions are good.
The age of the mother also has some influence on her child’s height. Studies in modern times have observed a gradual increase in height with maternal age, though these early studies suggest that trend is due to various socio-economic situations that select certain demographics as being more likely to have a first birth early in the mother’s life.
These same studies show that children born to a young mother are more likely to have below-average educational and behavioral development, again suggesting an ultimate cause of resources and family status rather than a purely biological explanation.
It has been observed that first-born males are shorter than later-born males.
Nature versus nurture
The precise relationship between genetics and environment is complex and uncertain. Differences in human height are 60–80% heritable, according to several twin studies and have been considered polygenic since the Mendelian-biometrician debate a hundred years ago.
The effect of environment on height is illustrated by studies performed by anthropologist Barry Bogin and coworkers of Guatemala Mayan children living in the United States. In the early 1970s, when Bogin first visited Guatemala, he observed that Mayan Indian men averaged only 157.5 centimeters (5 ft 2 in) in height and the women averaged 142.2 centimeters (4 ft 8 in).
The Nilotic peoples of Sudan such as the Shilluk and Dinka have been described as some of the tallest in the world. Dinka Ruweng males investigated by Roberts in 1953–54 were on average 181.3 centimeters (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in) tall, and Shilluk males averaged 182.6 centimeters (6 ft 0 in). The Nilotic people are characterized as having long legs, narrow bodies and short trunks, an adaptation to hot weather.
However, male Dinka and Shilluk refugees measured in 1995 in Southwestern Ethiopia were on average only 176.4 cm and 172.6 cm tall, respectively.
The tallest living married couple is ex-basketball players Yao Ming and Ye Li (both of China) who measure 228.6 cm (7 ft 6 in) and 190.5 cm (6 ft 3 in) respectively, giving a combined height of 419.1 cm (13 ft 9 in). They married in Shanghai, China, on 6 August 2007.
In Tibet, the Khampas are known for their great height. Khampa males are on average 180 cm tall (5 ft 11 in).
The people of the Dinaric Alps, mainly South Slavs (Montenegro and East Herzegovina), are on record as being the tallest in the world, with a male average height of 185.6 cm (6 ft 1.1 in) and the female average height of 170.9 cm (5 ft 7.3 in).
Process of height growth
Growth in height, determined by its various factors, results from the lengthening of bones via cellular divisions chiefly regulated by somatotropin (human growth hormone (hGH)) secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. Somatotropin also stimulates the release of another growth inducing hormone Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) mainly by the liver.
Both hormones operate on most tissues of the body, have many other functions, and continue to be secreted throughout life; with peak levels coinciding with peak growth velocity, and gradually subsiding with age after adolescence. The bulk of secretion occurs in bursts (especially for adolescents) with the largest during sleep.
Most intra-population variance of height is genetic. Short stature and tall stature are usually not a health concern. If the degree of deviation from normal is significant, hereditary short stature is known as familial short stature and tall stature is known as familial tall stature. There are, however, various diseases and disorders that cause growth abnormalities.
If not enough growth hormone is produced and/or secreted by the pituitary gland, then a patient with growth hormone deficiency can undergo treatment. This treatment involves the injection of pure growth hormone into thick tissue to promote growth.
The height chart below shows conversions from cm to feet and inches, rounded to a maximum of 2 decimal places.
|Cm||Feet||Feet & Inches||Cm||Feet||Feet & Inches|
|122||4 ft||4 ft, 0 in||162||5.31 ft||5 ft, 3.8 in|
|123||4.04 ft||4 ft, 0.4 in||163||5.35 ft||5 ft, 4.2 in|
|124||4.07 ft||4 ft, 0.8 in||164||5.38 ft||5 ft, 4.6 in|
|125||4.1 ft||4 ft, 1.2 in||165||5.41 ft||5 ft, 5 in|
|126||4.13 ft||4 ft, 1.6 in||166||5.45 ft||5 ft, 5.4 in|
|127||4.17 ft||4 ft, 2 in||167||5.48 ft||5 ft, 5.7 in|
|128||4.2 ft||4 ft, 2.4 in||168||5.51 ft||5 ft, 6.1 in|
|129||4.23 ft||4 ft, 2.8 in||169||5.54 ft||5 ft, 6.5 in|
|130||4.27 ft||4 ft, 3.2 in||170||5.58 ft||5 ft, 6.9 in|
|131||4.3 ft||4 ft, 3.6 in||171||5.61 ft||5 ft, 7.3 in|
|132||4.33 ft||4 ft, 4 in||172||5.64 ft||5 ft, 7.7 in|
|133||4.36 ft||4 ft, 4.4 in||173||5.68 ft||5 ft, 8.1 in|
|134||4.4 ft||4 ft, 4.8 in||174||5.71 ft||5 ft, 8.5 in|
|135||4.43 ft||4 ft, 5.1 in||175||5.74 ft||5 ft, 8.9 in|
|136||4.46 ft||4 ft, 5.5 in||176||5.77 ft||5 ft, 9.3 in|
|137||4.49 ft||4 ft, 5.9 in||177||5.81 ft||5 ft, 9.7 in|
|138||4.53 ft||4 ft, 6.3 in||178||5.84 ft||5 ft, 10.1 in|
|139||4.56 ft||4 ft, 6.7 in||179||5.87 ft||5 ft, 10.5 in|
|140||4.59 ft||4 ft, 7.1 in||180||5.91 ft||5 ft, 10.9 in|
|141||4.63 ft||4 ft, 7.5 in||181||5.94 ft||5 ft, 11.3 in|
|142||4.66 ft||4 ft, 7.9 in||182||5.97 ft||5 ft, 11.7 in|
|143||4.69 ft||4 ft, 8.3 in||183||6 ft||6 ft, 0 in|
|144||4.72 ft||4 ft, 8.7 in||184||6.04 ft||6 ft, 0.4 in|
|145||4.76 ft||4 ft, 9.1 in||185||6.07 ft||6 ft, 0.8 in|
|146||4.79 ft||4 ft, 9.5 in||186||6.1 ft||6 ft, 1.2 in|
|147||4.82 ft||4 ft, 9.9 in||187||6.14 ft||6 ft, 1.6 in|
|148||4.86 ft||4 ft, 10.3 in||188||6.17 ft||6 ft, 2 in|
|149||4.89 ft||4 ft, 10.7 in||189||6.2 ft||6 ft, 2.4 in|
|150||4.92 ft||4 ft, 11.1 in||190||6.23 ft||6 ft, 2.8 in|
|151||4.95 ft||4 ft, 11.4 in||191||6.27 ft||6 ft, 3.2 in|
|152||4.99 ft||4 ft, 11.8 in||192||6.3 ft||6 ft, 3.6 in|
|153||5.02 ft||5 ft, 0.2 in||193||6.33 ft||6 ft, 4 in|
|154||5.05 ft||5 ft, 0.6 in||194||6.36 ft||6 ft, 4.4 in|
|155||5.09 ft||5 ft, 1 in||195||6.4 ft||6 ft, 4.8 in|
|156||5.12 ft||5 ft, 1.4 in||196||6.43 ft||6 ft, 5.2 in|
|157||5.15 ft||5 ft, 1.8 in||197||6.46 ft||6 ft, 5.6 in|
|158||5.18 ft||5 ft, 2.2 in||198||6.5 ft||6 ft, 6 in|
|159||5.22 ft||5 ft, 2.6 in||199||6.53 ft||6 ft, 6.3 in|
|160||5.25 ft||5 ft, 3 in||200||6.56 ft||6 ft, 6.7 in|
|161||5.28 ft||5 ft, 3.4 in||201||6.59 ft||6 ft, 7.1 in|
If you wish to convert between centimeters, feet, inches and other units of length and height, try the length and distance converter. For all conversions involving units of weight such as stones, kilograms, and pounds, give the weight converter a try.
Role of an individual’s height
Height and health
Studies show that there is a correlation between small stature and a longer life expectancy. Individuals of small stature are also more likely to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to acquire cancer.
The University of Hawaii has found that the “longevity gene” FOXO3 that reduces the effects of aging is more commonly found in individuals of small body size. Short stature decreases the risk of venous insufficiency.
Certain studies have shown that height is a factor in overall health while some suggest tallness is associated with better cardiovascular health and shortness with longevity. Cancer risk has also been found to grow with height.
At the extreme end, being excessively tall can cause various medical problems, including cardiovascular problems, because of the increased load on the heart to supply the body with blood, and problems resulting from the increased time it takes the brain to communicate with the extremities.
Women whose height is under 150 cm (4 ft 11 in) may have a small pelvis, resulting in such complications during childbirth as shoulder dystocia.
A large body of human and animal evidence indicates that shorter, smaller bodies age slower, and have fewer chronic diseases and greater longevity.
Height and occupational success
There is a large body of research in psychology, economics, and human biology that has assessed the relationship between several seemingly innocuous physical features (e.g., body height) and occupational success. The correlation between height and success was explored decades ago.
Shorter people are considered to have an advantage in certain sports (e.g., gymnastics, race car driving, etc.), whereas in many other sports taller people have a major advantage.
A demonstration of the height-success association can be found in the realm of politics. Further, growing evidence suggests that height may be a proxy for confidence, which is likewise strongly correlated with occupational success.