SEP 20, 2018 7:49 AM PDT

Is height all genetics?

For those of us who are more, ahem, vertically challenged, shall we say, it's likely that you've wondered what is responsible for your height (or lack thereof). Especially if you seem to be an outcast when your family takes a standing holiday card photograph and you somehow end up looking like you're sitting. Is it all in the genes, or is there more going on in the height game?

In fact, our environment determines a big part of how tall we are. If you go back in history, you will note that throughout big changes in time (like the introduction of agriculture, or during the disease-stricken Industrial Revolution), average human height has changed as well. (Watch the video for some awesome graphics on this point!) But money also had a strong influence on height; people from poorer backgrounds tend to be shorter than people who are more well-off, which makes sense because if money is a stressor and your household experiences food insecurity growing up, your growth can be stunted. Nevertheless, according to a 2007 study done on siblings across the world, 86% of height variation can be explained by genetics. Want to know why? Watch the video!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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