Height, health and growth hormone

Acta Paediatr. 1999 Jun;88(6):602-9. doi: 10.1080/08035259950169233.


The principal objective of this paper is to provide health practitioners with information on the positive aspects of shorter stature for use in counseling short children with poor self-images. Another objective is to provide information on the physical capabilities, health potential and psychosocial characteristics of shorter stature as a baseline for deciding whether a healthy short child should receive growth hormone therapy. The information presented here was obtained from review of publications covering medical and nutritional research, gerontological studies, athletic performance and environmental, biological and engineering aspects of the human body. It was found that the popular belief in the superiority of tall stature is based primarily on social bias rather than on a scientific foundation. Studies indicating that taller people are healthier or more productive than shorter ones have ignored a wide range of evidence that shorter people are highly creative, productive, long-lived, athletic and better for the environment. The authors urge medical and scientific professionals to consider the many advantages of shorter stature in terms of health, social and environmental benefits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Human Growth Hormone / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Male
  • Risk Factors


  • Human Growth Hormone