How Body Height Changes Throughout Life

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The height of human’s body changes from birth, not only during childhood, but also after puberty.

While your height grows significantly at a young age, it also starts declining a little bit later on in life. The above image illustrates the height change by age for males.

Let’s go through the whole journey of how exactly the human’s height changes starting from the time of birth.

Height During the First Year of Life

Other than in the womb, humans grow fastest as infants and toddlers. This is their first growth spurt, which is a major part of their body development.

It’s estimated that a child will grow about 10 inches (25.4 cm) in the first year alone.

The average length of a newborn is 19-20 inches (48.3–50.8 cm). Based on that, the baby’s height will increase by around half at age of one.

Height by the Age of Two

After the first year, the child’s growth slows down. During the second year, toddlers may get taller by 4-5 inches (10.2-12.7 cm).

So, a 2-year-old kid will probably be around 35 inches (88.9 cm) tall.

It’s worth mentioning that the child’s height will be about half their adult height, at two years old for boys and at 18 months for girls. This information is typically used to predict the adult height of kids.

Height After the Third Birthday

During their third and fourth year, a child will typically gain around 3 inches (7.6 cm) per year in height.

Within 4 years, a baby’s height will grow to be about 41 inches (104.1 cm). By this age, the child will basically be about double their birth height.

Starting from the age of 4 until the start of puberty, children grow at a steady pace of about 2 inches (5.1 cm) per year.

By age of 12, boys will reach a height of 57 inches (144.8 cm). By age of 10, girls will be 53 inches (134.6 cm).

Height During Puberty

Kids experience a faster height growth when puberty hits, which typically lasts about 4-5 years.

The usual puberty age is 12-16 years for boys and 10-14 for girls. But it could extend up to 19 years for boys and 16 years for girls.

In total, the pubertal growth in height is around 12 inches (30.5 cm) for boys and 11 inches (27.9 cm) for girls. This indicates an average height increase of about 2.5-3 inches (6.1-7.6 cm) per year.

Height After Puberty

The height growth will ultimately slow down then stop after puberty ends. At most, this happens at 15-16 years old for girls and 18-19 for boys.

That difference in post-puberty age explains why men are generally taller than women.

Based on the height growth throughout childhood (as mentioned above), adult boys will have a height of about 69 inches (175 cm) while adult girls will be 64 inches (163 cm).

Now, by doubling the height at 2 years for boys (and 18 months for girls), a boy’s adult height will be around 70 inches (178 cm) and a girl’s adult height will be about 64 inches (163 cm).

As you see, the results from the two calculation methods yields almost the same heights.

After puberty ends, the person’s height remain pretty much constant. That’s because the growth plates (which are responsible for bone growth) close at that time.

Height After the Age of 30

At the age of 30, the height starts to gradually decline. Because you lose more bone than you gain at that point.

The rate of decrease in height is greater for women than men.

From age 30-70, men lose an average of about 3 cm (1.2 inches) of height and women lose around 5 cm (2 inches).

By age of 80, the total height loss becomes 5 cm (2 inches) for men and 8 cm (3.1 inches) for women. That indicates an additional loss of 2 cm (0.8 inches) for men and 3 cm (1.2 inches) for women.

The rate of height loss will at least remain the same for each 10 years after the age of 80 (assuming the person is still alive by then).

Conclusion

There you have it, this is how the body’s height changes starting from birth. The following table shows a summary of the process (for males):

AgeHeight ChangeFinal Height
Birth – 1Height grows by 10 inches (25.4 cm)30 inches (76 cm)
1 – 2Height grows by 5 inches (12.7 cm)35 inches (89 cm)
2 – 4Height grows by 3 inches (7.6 cm) per year41 inches (104 cm)
4 – 12Height grows by 2 inches (5.1 cm) per year57 inches (145 cm)
12 – 19Height grows by 12 inches (30.5 cm)69 inches (175 cm)
19 – 30Height remains the same69 inches (175 cm)
30 – 70Height decreases by 1.2 inches (3 cm)67.8 inches (172 cm)
70 – 80Height decreases by 0.8 inches (2 cm)67 inches (170 cm)
80+Height decreases by 0.8 inches (2 cm) per decade

Again, the above table is age-based height change for males. Females will be a little different due to the different puberty interval and height loss during old age.

Please note also all the numbers used in this article are based on the average. Some kids could be taller/shorter at birth or may gain more/less height while growing up. And some old people may lose less/more height with age.

If you want to track the height of children, you can simply use a hangable growth chart.

We hope this knowledge was fun and informative for you.

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