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How Do You Tell: Stunted Growth VS Shortness

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I have been an avid reader of your site for over a year and have found helpful advice from many of your answers. My question is in regards to height and growing. First of all, how does one know if they are in a state of stunted growth or if they're just short? I am a seventeen year-old male (eighteen in three months) and I'm about five feet, seven or eight inches tall. Strangely (at least strangely to me) I have extremely hairy legs and lower body, hairier then any other male I've ever seen (of any age), yet very little chest hair. Is this perhaps a sign that I will grow more in height, or am I destined to be short and hairy. I hope for the former, as I don't readily look forward to being Frodo Baggins for the rest of my life. Thank you muchly for your help.
Signed: How Do You Tell: Stunted Growth VS Shortness

Dear How Do You Tell: Stunted Growth VS Shortness,


Thank you for your question and the compliment - we are glad that you have found helpful information on the website, and hope to provide you with some answers to your question. 


Final adult height is a common teen concern. Since you are a regular reader of TeenHealthFX, you know that we often refer teens to talk to a physician about concerns because they will be able to get a more complete history and provide you with additional personalized information. If you do not have a physician and live in northern NJ, call (973) 971- 6475 for the Adolescent/Young Adult Center For Health Morristown Memorial Hospital or your local teen health center. 


You probably know that your height can be determined by many factors, including heredity, nutrition, and health status. So, do some simple research by seeing how your family measures up. This of course is not an exact science, so you may find conflicting results. Additionally, puberty is not an exact, and while there is a common sequence of events, often hair development and growth spurts cannot be predicted. Males often grow until the age of 20 or 21, so you still may add inches. Stunted growth may occur as a reaction to an injury, illness, or the introduction of a substance into the body. In order to determine whether your growth has been stunted, a trip to the doctor would be necessary, and even then a solid diagnosis may not be possible. 


The distribution of body hair is another curious topic that relies a lot on genetics. Again, the process of growing hair on different parts of the body may not be completed for several years. There is no amount of hair that has been determined to be normal, so you may have more or less hair in certain areas, and this does not necessarily mean that there is a problem. 


Check out "Pro Player" to get additional information regarding height determination and "Armpit Hair- More Into Puberty" for info about body hair development during puberty. 



Signed: TeenHealthFX