Advantages and disadvantages of being short in height

Written by stacy zogheib
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Advantages and disadvantages of being short in height
Those considered short or tall tend to stand out, particularly side by side. (Getty Images)

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2010 the average height for a man in England was just over 175 cm (5 feet 9 inches) and for a woman it was just under 162 cm (5 feet 3 inches). People who fall more than two to five cm (an inch or two) below these averages are considered short. People who are short may have trouble as children but as adults, they typically find that there are both advantages and disadvantages to their height.

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While people often think about the disadvantages first, there are many advantages to being short. For one thing, people who are short often excel at sports that require physical stamina, balance or fast reaction times. They also are less likely to break bones during a fall. There is some evidence to show that short people live longer, mostly due to reduced wear and tear on their bodies. Short people also often look younger than their age, which can give them an advantage in some fields.


Of course, every short person has had the experience of not being able to reach a high shelf or taking some height-related joking from friends or co-workers. In some fields, being short is a definite disadvantage. For example, a short person has to be comparatively better at basketball or other sports if he wants to compete with taller players. Being short also can make it difficult to find clothes that fit properly since most clothes are constructed to fit people of average or slightly above average height.

Tips for overcoming

If you find that you see more of the disadvantages than the advantages of being short, it could be that you are looking at things the wrong way. Learn how to adapt to being shorter in a tall world. Keep step stools in various places in your home so that you can reach high shelves. You might even ask about keeping a step stool at work if your height is a challenge there. Buy the best quality clothing that you can afford and have it tailored so that it fits. If you are very short, pedal extenders and specially made pads can make driving more comfortable and make it easier to see over the steering wheel.

General thoughts

The best way to make the best out of being short is to focus on the advantages. Laugh with your friends who poke fun at your height, or try to find new friends who are less concerned about looks. Realise that most people have something about their physical appearance that they are self-conscious about. Concentrate on being a person that other people will want to befriend. Be engaging, outgoing and sociable if this is your natural personality. If it is not, then develop a smaller circle of very close friends.

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