On a societal level childhood nutrition and environment have a lot of influence on a population’s height. Taller populations tend to be better fed and less diseased, and some scientists make a direct link (as they do with longevity) between trends in population height and the overall thriving of a society. But from person to person, it is our genes—as expressed in the heights of our immediate ancestors—that matter most. That’s why simple formulas such as this one or this do-it-yourself version posted by Dr. Robert H Shmerling of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will often predict height within 2-3 inches:
For men: (height of mother + height of father + 5)/2
For women: (height of mother + height of father – 5)/2
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