Parents: does size matter?

Linsay Gray

This article originally appeared on the OUPblog on 31 October 2012: http://blog.oup.com/2012/10/parental-height-children-health/

What can the height of a person tell us about them and their children? Although determined to an extent by genes, the height of a fully grown man or woman can be considered as a ‘marker’ of the circumstances they experienced early in life. These childhood circumstances include illness, living conditions, diet, and maybe even stress. Such early life circumstances have been shown to be linked to health risks later in life. In fact, the height of an individual is also linked with their chance of developing chronic health conditions. Taller people are at lower risk of heart disease, for example.

But what about the height of their parents? One may wonder if that could have an effect? Evidence from studies of animals indicates that poor health which is caused by challenging circumstances during development early in life may be transmitted from generation to generation. Continue reading “Parents: does size matter?”