Factors affecting human height

Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Height is a physical trait that has multiple factors which affect and change it. While it is true that genetics is a major part of human height and growth, other factors can minimise or maximise height that are unrelated to genetics, such as nutrition.

Multiple factors cause the human body to grow taller even after normal puberty.


While genetics is not the only factor affecting height, it is the main factor that determines height. Genetic coding is involved in body hormones such as growth hormones and receptor hormones as well as the genetic make-up for bone proportions and determining when puberty begins.

Prenatal Environment

The prenatal environment is another factor in determining human height. A mother who has proper nutrition, avoids smoking, does not drink alcohol and has a healthy lifestyle will provide the best environmental factors for taller children. On the other hand, a woman who smokes, drinks or has inadequate nutrition during pregnancy will often end up with a lower birthweight baby and the child will end up shorter as a result.

Nutrition Throughout Growth

Nutrition is one of the primary environmental factors affecting growth and height. A well-balanced diet full of healthful, nutritious foods will result in taller heights while a poor diet will result in shorter stature. During childhood and puberty when children are growing the most, good nutrition can have a major impact on height and growth.


Children who take medications regularly during growth periods can end up shorter, although much depends on the type of medication. Medicines often affect the body's hormones, especially mental health medications, resulting in shorter heights.