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?