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20 years old with 162cm. Does diet and exercise affect height?

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Practicing since : 1976
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Hello, I am a 20 year old female, my height is 162 cm. At the age of 13/14 I went on a strict diet and started quite strict exercise routine. I realized recently that as I went through the primary school, I was among the medium group in the class in terms of height (if not the taller) but was the smallest girl in the class in the end of high school.

Is it possible that I disrupted my growth with my exercise and diet, even though after 10 months I stopped exercising and dieting? I had a knee injury at the age of 16/17, even though not a severe one, I feel pain in (both) my knees quite often these days and was wondering if a premature growth plate closure might be a cause of that? Is there a way to diagnose this now, when I’m 21?

Also, it might be important to note that I was probably the first girl in the class to start menstrual period and was quite mature overall. Did I just matured earlier (did I grown earlier then the other girls and then stopped growing earlier as well)?

My mum’s height is 167/8 cm.

Many Thanks, XXXXXXX
Posted Sun, 13 Jan 2013 in Weight & Lifestyle
Answered by Dr. Rajiv K Khandelwal 4 hours later

Thanks for your query.

The final height of an individual is determined by a number of factors:
1. Genetic.
2. Nutritional.
3. Hormonal.
4. Environmental.
Exercise does not affect the final height but is known to help there. Dieting and your menarche can be factors affecting the final height.

The knee injury would have been in only one knee rather than both. If the growth plate had been affected in one knee then there would be slight asymmetry between the two legs.

In view of your mother's height and your observation of start of early menstrual period (menarche) it appears that your final height is related to your hormonal milleau.

I hope I have answered your query to your satisfaction. Please feel free to revert back in case you need any clarifications or would like to share more facts.

Wishing you all the best.


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Follow-up: 20 years old with 162cm. Does diet and exercise affect height? 47 minutes later

Thank you for your answer. Is hormonal milleau related to genetics as well? I’m not exactly sure what it is and how it affected my growth?

Even though it was only one knee injured, both of them are weak and I have pain in them after doing sports or even sitting for longer periods. I also feel pain in my hips sometimes. I'm quite young and find this a bit worrying and I thought that if my growth was stunted (now I know it probably wasn't) it might cause the bones or joints to become weaker.

Thanks again for your help, XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Rajiv K Khandelwal 2 hours later

By hormonal milleau I mean the combination of hormones. Various hormones peak at different ages and its their combined effect which reflects in the body. The growth hormone, which is responsible for height, peaks during pre-puberty and the level falls towards the end of grwoing period (19-21 years). The gonadal hormones start their effect during adolescence and continue till later in life. Hence you will appreciate that though it appears simple but it is a complex interaction taking place in the body.

The effect of the hormones is interlinked with genetics and I mentioned the four factors (genetic, hormonal, nutritional and environmental) determining the final height. Though you have mentioned your mother's height you have not mentioned your father's height.

The knee injury is not responsible for the height as it was in one knee only. Your belief of "stunted growth" causing weak bones and joints is not correct. The weakness and pain in the joints can be due to other reasons. A clinical examination by an orthopedic doctor would guide us further.

I hope I have clarified your doubts to the best of my ability. I will just end with a note that one should accept the height and not worry about it as it is not under your control.

Please do revert back for any clarifications that you may.

Wishing you all the best.


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