How did I end up being tall?

Okay, to help you understand my title, I have to tell you about myself and my family. I myself am 6’0 tall. I know that isn’t SUPER tall but for my family, it is. My grandparents are both exactly 5’0 tall. My mom is 5’2 and my father is 5’5. This is why I find it so strange that I ended up being the height that I am because there is no one in my family, that I know of, that are tall. This got me thinking, how is height determined? How do people end up being the height they are?


From what I am aware of, height has to do a lot with genetics. I know in my case it might have been due to other factors as well, but the majority of the time it is genetics. I have some friends who have very tall parents and they ended up being very tall themselves. What I found in the article I found, is that only 80 percent of your genes play a part in determining your height. This did not come as a surprise because I had a feeling that there was more to it than just genes. Other factors that play a role in your height according to the article Factor’s Affecting Children’s Height, gender, nutrition, exercise, and possibly medical conditions. It’s understandable that medical conditions could affect your height because I’ve seen in the news a few cases of people who grow to be very tall because of a condition they have. I looked into the other possible factors.

What I hadn’t realized is that gender does play a major role in height. According to this article, if you are a female, statistically you will be shorter than males. Of course, there are always woman that grow to be much taller than men. It comes down to whether or not your parents are tall. Same with males. There are many short males so it depends on your parents significantly. A very surprising factor I came across was physical activity. According to the same article, if a kid doesn’t get enough physical activity, their bones can end up being weak and not being able to support the potential height they could reach. I know when children have bad diets, it can really affect their body long term. If you aren’t healthy, I assume that it can take a toll on your body in many different ways. The last factor I found interesting is medical conditions. The article stated three possible conditions children can be born with and they are, Turner’s syndrome, gigantism, and dwarfism. All of these conditions can be hereditary according to the article. Children with Turner’s syndrome are more likely to also have mental deficiencies as well. Gigantism and dwarfism are mainly physical changes. Both can also have the potential of deficiencies of different types such as mental retardation. It depends on the type you have. Although, these conditions are extreme cases of factors affecting height, it stems from genetics.

What I realized from my research is that height is largely determined by genetics if not mainly determined by genetics. Yes, diet and exercise affect height in small way but everything else ties back to what we inherit from our parents. Coming into this I thought that something else that could be rather large was affecting height. In reality, a small portion of what determines our height is something other than genetics.

2 thoughts on “How did I end up being tall?

  1. Marissa Dorros

    This post relates extremely well to some of the information that the guest speaker, Dr. Douglas Cavener, Dean of the Eberly College of Science, shared in class today. When he surveyed the class about whether we thought height is determined by genes, other factors, or both, the class opinion was pretty split. Dr. Cavener shared that height is in fact determined by both, but it is mostly determined by genes. Basically, he explained that as long as someone fulfills basic dietary nutrition, their height is determined by their genes. Overall, your conclusion is consistent with Dr. Cavener’s. At first I believed this conclusion made sense, but after thinking about it further, I became a little conflicted. As a gymnast, I always hear about how gymnastics can stunt growth. After comparing the effects of gymnastics on gymnast’s bodies with the effects of swimming on swimmer’s bodies, these scientists conclude that heavy physical gymnastics training before and during puberty can stunt a female gymnast’s growth. So although it still makes sense that height is mostly determined by genes, there are some factors that can interfere with one’s fulfillment of reaching their natural height.

  2. Chris North

    Interesting how both your parents could be so short and you so tall. I too am taller than both my parents, just not by as much as you are. I don’t remember much from biology in high school, but I do remember discussing dominant and recessive alleles. Could your height be due to a recessive allele that ran through your family’s genes and was finally expressed with you. Here’s an article I found with more info on recessive and dominant alleles.

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