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Does Height Equal Success?

By Robin Aronson |

Do we measure up?

Some kids will be tall, some short, that’s the way it goes.  Does it matter?  Sort of.  As it turns out, the average height of  is meaningful in all kinds of ways.  American kids were the world’s tallest until the 1960s, today, children in the Netherlands lead the growth charts.  In other words, when pregnant women have access to prenatal health care and children, too, have access to quality, affordable health care, healthy food and playtime outside, those kids grow to their fullest height.

Weirdly, as reported by NPR, height seems to effect individual economic success in that taller people tend to make more money. (Personally, I think this has a lot to do with how  height is perceived.)  But the economic implications of reaching one’s full height don’t just play out for individuals, it matters across the boards. John Komlos, a German economist, says in NPRs story, “A population that is not taking care of their children and youth is going to be in difficulties in a generation or two.”

My own kids have always been on the small side. As babies they always fell somewhere around the tenth to fifteenth percentile on the height chart.  It never really bothered me. They seem to be tall enough for their age and if height were an issue, their excellent doctor would tell me.   But not everyone goes to a good doctor every year. With flat rates in height and the growing problem of obesity, the height and weight of our kids is telling us an awful lot about what they need and what they’re not getting. Do you worry about your kids’ height?

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About Robin Aronson


Robin Aronson

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0 thoughts on “Does Height Equal Success?

  1. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    My husband and I are both over six feet. My only concern about my kids height is in regard to how I will afford to keep clothing them.

  2. Robin Aronson says:

    Good point! One thing I appreciate about having short kids is getting two years out of pants. My SIL once sent me a pair of sneakers her daughter grew out of before she got to wear them once.

  3. Rosana says:

    No, I don’t worry about my kids height. My side of the family is tall and my kids are always in the 90th percentile of height.
    I think perception might play a part on how much money a person makes but what the piece on NPR was about is kids reaching their full developmental potential not only in their bones but also in their brains. If kids receive the proper care (healthy food, sleep, play, etc.) their brains will develop to their full pontential and the individual will be smarter. So it is not really a matter of a kid being short or tall. If a kid is meant to be 5′ 5″ as an adult and reaches that height, chances are that he/she will be smarter than the 5’9″ kid that was meant to be 6’2″.

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