MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: If my parents are short, is there a possibility for me to gain height at 17

Date: Fri Aug 18 15:35:40 2000
Posted By: Jeff Buzby, Research Scientist, Molecular Immunology
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 966394669.Ge

Hi Marg,

The fact that youíve havenít grown in the past couple of years is completely normal.Girls generally experience a final growth spurt, which peaks at about age 12, slows rapidly to about age 14 or 15, then tapers off until about age 18, when growth is usually complete.This growth spurt generally occurs later in boys, where it peaks at age 14 or 15 and is not complete until about age 21.

The average growth rate for a 17 year-old female is around 0.5 cm (about 3/16 of an inch) per year, as opposed to about 9 cm (3.5 ins.) per year for a 12 year-old.So even if your parents were not short, there would probably not be much chance for a significant increase in your height at this stage of your growth.Although short parents can have much taller offspring, the fact that both are short is probably also a good indicator that you wonít grow very much taller.

I donít think that there is much that can be done to increase your height at this stage.Growth hormone can be used to treat young children with extremely short stature, but Iím not sure that it would be available or have much of an effect on a 17 year-old (see report on "Growth Hormone in Children" from the NHS Executive South West Research & Development Directorate; Bristol, UK). Anyway, I hope that this at least helps you to understand the growth process.

Thanks for the interesting question,


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