London: Would you like to know if your child is set to stand head and shoulders above the rest? Or if they’re likely to stay diminutive into adulthood? There is an easy (although fallible) mathematical equation that can help you predict how tall your child will be.
The formula, which has been used since the 1970s and was revealed in the New York Times, predicts that ‘most (but not all) children will reach a height somewhere within a fairly small range that can be estimated by the average combined heights of their parents.’
Physical Growth of Infants and Children
How does it work?
Add the heights of both parents plus 5in (13cm) and divide by two.
Add the heights of both parents minus 5in (13cm) and divide by two.
There is a more complicated formula for extreme differences in parental height. These predictions are by no means completely reliable, however, as environmental factors such as nutrition play a big part in determining human height.
Genetics is estimated to account for between 60 and 80 percent of one’s final height. A study of 8,798 pairs of Finnish twins conducted in 2000 found that genetics accounted for 78 percent of height in adult men and around 75 percent in women.
However, as we all know not all children born to the same couple will be the same height. Science shows that height tends to decrease in younger siblings. Another popular method for predicting height is to double a boy’s height at age two or a girl’s height at 18 months.
Most children will reach an adult height within 4in (10cm) of this estimation.
Talking about the formula in a post for Huggies, Professor David Ravine from the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, said: ‘As a rough rule, adult height can be estimated pretty well by doubling the height that was achieved at two years of age.’
He added: ‘There’s a long list of genes which have an influence on our height. Typically a person’s height reflects the heights of their parents.
‘Environment can also have a big influence as well. For example, childhood malnutrition can have a devastating effect on growth and the ultimate adult height. ‘Nutrition in-utero and in the first few years of life have an impact on the height a child will grow to.’