How tall should my child be?

Predicting the child's height depends on several factors and may be related to the parents' genes

Even before your child was born, you probably wondered what color their hair would be, what their eye color would be, and how tall they would be. While you can’t predict everything, there are some clues that can help you gauge your child’s height.

Predicting the child’s height depends on several factors and may be related to the parents’ genes, daily eating habits, practice of physical activity, hours of sleep, and health situations, i.e. the presence of some condition that may limit the child’s growth.

Therefore, to calculate the estimated height of the child, a simple mathematical formula can be used, which takes into consideration the height of the mother and father, as well as the child’s gender. Another way to know how tall the child will be in adulthood is to double his or her height at around 2 years of age since at around 24-30 months of age, half of the final stature is reached.

It is important to bear in mind that the results provided by the formulas represent an estimate, so that in adult life a person may be more or less tall. To ensure that the child’s growth and development is proceeding normally, it is recommended that the paediatrician be consulted periodically.

It is also important to take into account that these formulas are based only on the parents’ height. There are more complex formulas that include measuring the height of the knee or leg, for example, whose measurements and calculations must be carried out by a nutritionist or pediatrician and can provide more exact results.

How to calculate the height manually?

According to the Brazilian Society of Paediatricians, the prediction of children’s height can be made by following the following formula:

  • For girls: (mother’s height in centimetres) + (father’s height in centimetres – 13) /2
  • For boys: (mother’s height in centimetres) + (father’s height in centimetres + 13) /2

It is important to note that the results are predictions and do not necessarily correspond to reality. Furthermore, the results may vary by more or less 5 centimetres.

Another way to know how tall a child will be as an adult is to multiply by 2 the height that the child is at age 2. For example, if you are 86 cm at the age of 2, you should have 1.72 cm at the age of 21, which is when the person stops growing.

This height estimate for children is used by many pediatricians and is known as the target height, but it only considers the parents’ height. However, there are other factors that can interfere with height, such as genetics, diet, health, sleep quality, development, and posture.

How are growth and development defined?

Even though the terms growth and development are used synonymously, they have different biological meanings. Growth refers to the incremental changes in physical characteristics such as height, weight, size, etc., while development refers to qualitative changes to growth in an orderly and meaningful fashion which results in maturity. Growth and development contribute to each other, are inseparable, and occur simultaneously. For example, most babies, by the time they grow up to be 8 months old, can weigh around 8 to 10 kilograms and can sit up.

What factors affect a child’s growth?

Nature and nurture both contribute to the growth and development of children. Although what’s endowed by nature is constant, nurture tends to make a big difference too. A number of factors go into determining how tall your child will be. Some of these are:


Boys tend to be taller than girls. Gender also affects physical growth in infancy. Weight, length, and head circumference are greater in boys than in girls throughout the first year of life. These growth differences are related to hormonal differences between boys and girls.

Predicting the child's height depends on several factors and may be related to the parents' genes, daily eating habits, practice of physical activity, hours of sleep and health situations, i.e. the presence of some condition that may limit the child's growth.

Genetic Factors

A person’s height tends to run in families. Most people in a certain family will grow at similar rates and be of similar height. However, this isn’t to say short parents may not have an extremely tall child.

Health Status

If a child has certain medical conditions, it can affect their growth. One example is Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes those who have it to be unusually tall. Conditions that may cause a child to be shorter include arthritis, celiac disease, and cancers. Also, children who took certain medicines, like corticosteroids used over a long period of time, may not grow as tall.


Overweight children will often be taller, while underweight or malnourished children may be shorter. However, this doesn’t always predict a child’s ultimate height.

What can I do to make my child taller?

For the child to grow healthy and be taller, simple strategies can be adopted, such as having a good diet, rich in vegetables, greens, fruits, grains, and cereals, because in this way the body receives the necessary nutrients to produce the growth hormone.

Furthermore, sleeping well also contributes to growth, because it is during sleep that this hormone is produced and released. Getting your child to do some physical activity can also be useful for them to have stronger muscles and bones, as well as good body posture, which also influences their growth.

When is short stature a health problem?

If the paediatrician verifies that the child is having a growth restriction, has dwarfism or some other syndrome that has short stature as a characteristic, it can be recommended treatment with growth hormone (GH), which is administered in the form of an injection once a day.

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