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How tall will your child be?

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Kids love to see how they are growing. Pencil marks on the wall show how much taller they’re getting year on year.

"Will I be as tall as Daddy when I grow up?"

"Will I be bigger than my sister?"

You can’t answer with 100% accuracy but you can probably give a good guess as to what their final height will actually be.

Girl being measure for height against a doorjamb

Factors that affect height

Adult height depends on a number of factors: height and growth patterns and the age when puberty is reached. Chronic illness and poor nutrition can also have an effect.

The main factor influencing a child’s height is the height of their parents.

Your daughter can quite justifiably blame you if she’s not quite tall enough to fulfil her fashion model dream or your son’s career in basketball is scotched by his height.

An often quoted formula that can be used as a 'best estimate' of final height is:

  • 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

It’s not an exact science and the predictions can be 2 inches out either way.

The estimates aren’t always accurate when either one or both parents are very tall or very short. So although parents’ height is really important it doesn’t always give the right answer.

Professor Charlotte Wright is professor of community child health in Glasgow and academic lead in growth charts at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

She says: "The strongest influence on height is genetic - but many genes work together to code for height, so while most children get a mixture of these genes from each parent and tend to take after them, some children get all the short genes from both parents and end up unusually short, while others end up very tall."

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