What is the average height for women?

Written by jenn foreacre
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Women all over the world have varying heights. From the petite 5-foot, 1-inch woman to the tall and willowy 5-foot, 10-inch woman, there is definitely a wide range of heights! Nationality, genetics, environment and even medical conditions all play a role in determining the height of an individual woman.

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The Role Genetics Play

Genetics definitely have a say in how tall a woman will be. Scientists have isolated a gene called HMGA2, which contributes to normal height variation. Research has also shown that there is a correlation between the heights of a mother and her son, and of a father and his daughter. This suggests that a short woman will bear a shorter son, and a tall father will most likely have a tall daughter.

History

During the 18th and 19th centuries, European individuals living in North America were significantly taller than those Europeans who still lived in Europe. In fact, Europeans who lived in North America and most of the Plains Native Americans were among the two tallest populations in the world at that time.

How Tall is the Average Woman?

In the U.S., the average height of a woman is approximately 5 feet, 5 inches, or 164cm. A Caucasian woman, regardless of where she lives, averages at 5-feet, 5 inches. Black women are usually a bit taller, with the average height of a black woman measuring at 5 feet, 51/2 inches. A Hispanic or Mexican-American woman is a bit shorter, with her average height being 5 feet, 2 inches. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the mean height of a woman in the U.S. is 5 feet, 4 inches.

Growth Abnormalities

While every race and country has its average height for both men and women, growth abnormalities and problems can interfere with the height of an individual women. Dwarfism is one condition that affects both men and women, and causes incredibly short stature. The average person affected with dwarfism will be no taller than 4 feet, 10 inches. Then there is gigantism. Gigantism is a medical condition that causes abnormally large growth during childhood. A person affected with this condition will be excessively tall. Their bones, muscles, internal organs and limbs will also be unusually large.

How Health Conditions Can Affect Height

Dwarfism and gigantism are two medical conditions that significantly impact a person's height and body structure from infancy or early childhood. But there are other conditions and problems that may not happen until later in life that have the potential to affect height. Scoliosis is one medical condition that can decrease an individual's height. This disorder causes curvature of the spine. If the curvature is significant enough, an individual may lean to one side or have posture issues. Their height can thus be decreased by an inch or two, depending on the severity of the spine curvature.

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