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How Tall Will I Be?

What helps you grow and how to predict your future growth.
By Anna Nguyen
WebMD Feature

What can you expect when it comes to your final height? It’s almost as easy as taking a look at your parents, but there’s more to it than that.

WebMD asked pediatricians to answer the most common questions about getting taller. They’ve also sorted out the truth from myths when trying to determine your adult height and if there’s anything you can do about it.

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What affects how tall I will be?

Your final adult height depends on a number of factors: height and growth patterns, such as early or delayed growth of family members; when you reached puberty; any chronic illnesses that you have; and nutrition, says Vaneeta Bamba, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Can I figure out how tall I will be?

The best way to look ahead is to review your growth chart with your pediatrician, says Adda Grimberg, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Your doctor tracks your height at every checkup. They plot your height and age on a chart, and they know what's typical for healthy boys and girls. Healthy children tend to follow a curve on the chart that is largely set by their genes, Grimberg says.

You can also do a little math, but you'll need to know how tall your parents are.

The formula below will predict your final height, plus or minus two inches, says Mitchell E. Geffner, MD, a pediatrics professor at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

  • For girls: [(father's height - 5 inches) + mother's height] divided by two
  • For boys: [(mother's height + 5 inches) + father's height] divided by two

 

If my parents are tall or short, will I be just like them?

Maybe. Your genes, which you get from your parents, play a large role in your growth pattern and your final adult height. But it's not the only factor in your growth, Bamba says.

When will my growth spurt start and end? How much can I expect to grow? How is it different for boys and girls?

A growth spurt normally lasts for two years and starts at different times for girls and boys. For girls, it typically starts around age 9 to 10. The fastest point is around 11 to 12 for girls. Boys usually start around age 11 and peaking at 13.

During this time, boys typically grow about 4 inches each year. Make that 3 inches per year for girls. This is why the average man is 5 inches taller than the average woman, Geffner says.

Boys and girls stop growing at the end of puberty. That's when their growth plates -- the area where their bones grow -- fuse, Grimberg says.

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