Human height or stature is the distance from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head in a human body, standing erect. It is measured using a stadiometer, usually in centimetres when using the system, or feet. When populations share genetic background and environmental factors, average height is frequently characteristic within the group, exceptional height variation within such a population is sometimes due to gigantism or dwarfism, which are medical conditions caused by specific genes or endocrine abnormalities. The development of human height can serve as an indicator of two key components, namely nutritional quality and health. The study of height is known as auxology, Growth has long been recognized as a measure of the health of individuals, hence part of the reasoning for the use of growth charts. For individuals, as indicators of problems, growth trends are tracked for significant deviations. Genetics is a factor in determining the height of individuals. Average height is relevant to the measurement of the health and wellness of populations, changes in diet and a general rise in quality of health care and standard of living are the cited factors in the Asian populations. Malnutrition including chronic undernutrition and acute malnutrition is known to have caused stunted growth in various populations and this has been seen in North Korea, parts of Africa, certain historical Europe, and other populations. Developing countries such as Guatemala have rates of stunting in children under 5 living as high as 82. 2% in Totonicapán, Height measurements are by nature subject to statistical sampling errors even for a single individual. In a clinical situation, height measurements are taken more often than once per office visit. The smooth 50th percentile male and female growth curves illustrated above are aggregate values from thousands of individuals sampled at ages from birth to age 20. In reality, a single individuals growth curve shows large upward and downward spikes, partly due to differences in growth velocity. Height, like other traits, is determined by a combination of genetics. Genetic potential and a number of hormones, minus illness, is a determinant for height. Other factors include the response to external factors such as diet, exercise, environment. On average, female growth speed trails off to zero at about 15 or 16 years, whereas the male curve continues for approximately 3 more years and these are also critical periods where stressors such as malnutrition have the greatest effect. Moreover, the health of a mother throughout her life, especially during her critical period, a healthier child and adult develops a body that is better able to provide optimal prenatal conditions
The median (50th percentile) growth curves for male and females 0–20 years in the United States.
Sir Francis Galton's (1889) data showing the relationship between offspring height (928 individuals) as a function of mean parent height (205 sets of parents). The correlation was 0.57.
A textile label showing the difference in average height around the world as shown on this Polo shirt. What is a Medium size in the United States and in Europe becomes Large size for Asia
A map showing the average height of men in the British Isles, 1897