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The Evaluation of Human Growth Patterns

Angus M. Thomson, MBChB, FRCOG, DPH
Am J Dis Child. 1970;120(5):398-403. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1970.02100100062003.
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If I had to choose the best single criterion of good growth, it would be tallness. People in the affluent and best-educated classes are relatively tall, and in many respects they are healthier. Tall people are more intelligent, on the average, than short people.1 Tall women bear children more easily and have fewer perinatal losses than short women.2 Tall athletes have what Khosla3 has described as an unfair advantage in speed and agility. Tallness, or at least the relatively long legs which go with tallness, seems to form part of the artistic ideal of human beauty, and this is exploited in advertising.4

The facts are not in dispute, but their interpretation has been controversial for a long time. Tanner1 noted that in 1892, William Townsend Porter, who later became a leading physiologist in the United States, found children in lower school grades to be shorter


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