Does Age At Menarche Matter When It Comes To Height?


Height research must be one of the most difficult types of research studies to do because entire populations have to be assessed.

Imagine the difficulty of sifting through hundreds of thousands of records to find trends. Luckily with computers, recent research can evaluate these records a lot faster.

However, the older records would have to be tallied by hand or worse yet, hundreds of hours spent inputting the data into computers.


Despite the difficulty of doing height research, this type of research has been done by researchers thrilled about the topic. Scientists already know that height of adults in nine European populations has increased in the last two centuries.

But they also wanted to know if there was any relationship between the age that girls got their periods (menarche) and height in several different populations. So they got busy.

QuestionGuess At The Answer To This Height Research Question: How To Get Taller

What do you think? Do you think that girls who get their periods earlier are shorter or taller than girls who get their periods later in life?

You could argue it either way.

You could say taller girls would get their periods earlier because they have had a chance to develop better hormonal profiles.

A better hormone profile would mean the full development of hormones in the body for their age.

Since growth hormone, the hormone that makes someone grow taller, is also a hormone, maybe there’s some type of connection there that researchers should investigate.

Or you could say that shorter girls would get their periods earlier and somehow the reproductive hormones interfere with growth hormone and stunts the girls’ heights.

If you’re a scientist type of person, you could probably come up with 12 different reasons why both types of girls could be taller. This could lead to solutions for thousands of people who want to know how to get taller.

ResearchThe Revelations About This Height Research

Anyway, the researchers started looking for the pattern in the height research by calculating the average age of the women when their periods started in 5-year birth groups.

All girls born from 1900 to 1905 were in one group, for example.

Keeping in line with other height research, they examined the records of thousands of girls. The actual number was 286,205! That’s a lot!

The next thing they did was use some fancy statistical programs called linear regression models that could adjust the results according to socioeconomic status. And then see what came up.

Here are their findings:

1. The age that the girls got their periods decreased by 44 days every 5 years between 1992 and 1998.

The age decrease depended on the country though, with only 18 days difference in the United Kingdom and up to 58 days in Spain and Germany.

2. Women grew 0.29 centimeters taller for every 5-year period. However, in Italy, women’s height was 0.42 centimeters taller and in Denmark, the difference was 0.98 cm

3. Once women got their period, they grew about 0.31 centimeters taller by one year later.

4. More recently, girls have their first period earlier and grow taller.

5. However, women who had an early period don’t grow as tall as those who have their period at a later age.

Height Research Done Always Begs For More Height Research

Their discoveries really make a person want to think a lot more about this question about how to get taller.

For example, what is the big difference between the U.K. age decrease and the one in Spain and Germany? Could there be some diet factors that are accounting for the differences?

Or what about other countries? How does the rest of the world compare to Europe and the United Kingdom?

This research was reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology in October of 2005. (Age at menarche in relation to adult height: the EPIC study). It took place at the University Medical Center Utrecht, in the Netherlands.

The researchers concluded that early periods means height would not be as great as if the periods come later.

Scientists tell us that we can’t exactly conclude that just because these results were seen in women in the United Kingdom and in Europe, it’s going to be the same for us in the U.S. or Australia or the Asian countries.

However, in our own minds it does tell us one more little relationship in the big picture of how to get taller – try to delay the age of menarche as long as possible.

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