If you were 'vertically challenged' as a kid, there's a good chance your mum followed some unusual beliefs to help you grow taller
While some beliefs are rooted in truth, we wanted to know if these old wives' tales are actually fact or fiction!
1. "Sit up straight!"
While you may see slight growth in your height when you correct your posture, the actual length of your spine and bones don't actually grow more by sitting up straight.
Even so, it's still great advice from our mums to sit up straight and not slouch! There are loads of benefits to having good posture, such as keeping your bones and joints in the correct alignment, decreasing abnormal wearing of joint surfaces, and decreasing the stress on ligaments.
Verdict: Fiction - but you should totally look after your posture!
2. "Stand up against the wall"
Having bad posture or slouching harms your height potential. Similar to sitting up straight, it's important to keep good posture to ensure height growth, but it's not going to make you a supermodel overnight ;)
Verdict: Fiction - but it helps.
3. "Just hang from the monkey bars lah"
The force of gravity pulling your body down as you hang from a monkey bar actually helps straighten your spine, but it is entirely temporary. That being said, playing on monkey bars are a great way to strengthen your back muscles and improve posture, which is great.
Verdict: Fiction - still fun to hang upside down though!
4. "Play basketball"
There's no direct link between height and specifically playing basketball. However, health professionals believe that regular exercise, such as playing basketball, can benefit the body and increase growth.
Exercise increases the secretion of a hormone called HGH in the body. HGH is a hormone that is responsible for increased height. So, along with all the jumping involved in the sport, basketball is an excellent workout that helps you reach your full health (and height) potential.
Verdict: Kind of a fact - but only because regular exercise in general is good for your body and growth.
5. "Go play skipping rope"
The belief that skipping helps you grow taller actually has some truth in it! Skipping helps your muscles and ligaments stretch and contract, causing them to be more elastic. Also, because your body is straight when you skip, it stretches your spine and back muscles too.
But will you actually grow 10cm more by skipping? Probably not :(
Verdict: Fiction - although there are still loads of health benefits to skipping!
6. "Just jump lor"
Similar to skipping, jumping can be good exercise, which can lead to you reaching your full height potential. However, jumping in particular will not make you taller. Exercise in general, though, is always a great way to help your body grow.
Verdict: Fiction - plus when you fall down and hurt yourself, your mum will totally blame and scold you... huhuhu.
7. "Eat more kacang panjang"
Kacang panjang or long beans supposedly help you grow taller because they are... long. Lol. But actually, they do help!
Your diet needs to provide enough calories, protein, and vitamins and minerals for normal growth as a child. As long as you have a balanced diet of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats, you're good to go. But eating extra portions of long beans won't really make a difference.
Verdict: Fiction - however, beans are packed with protein, which make new cells for growth.
8. "Come, I pull your legs for you"
9. "Sleep early and you'll be taller in the morning"
Your body releases growth hormones during deep sleep through your pituitary glands. This helps your bones thicken, strengthen, and lengthen bit-by-bit. So a good night's sleep really does help your physical growth and development as a child.
However, this only benefits youths before their growth plates close as adults. And sleeping all day can actually be detrimental to your health, so don't use this as an excuse to never get out of bed :P
Verdict: Kind of a fact - in addition to a balanced diet and regular exercise, it's important for kids to get a lot of sleep.
The truth is, there's no secret to growing taller!
The most important thing you can do for your child is to ensure they have all the nutritional needs they need to be healthy and happy.
Here are three things your child needs to grow:
- Enough sleep: Most children need an average of 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. This helps their bodies get the rest they need to continue growing healthily.
- Complete and balanced nutrition: Your child needs a complete and balanced diet that is full of essential vitamins and minerals to help them reach their growth potential.
- Regular exercise: Whether it's skipping, basketball, or any fun physical activity, your kid will benefit from exercise. Good health and fitness will not only improve their growth, it will also maintain a healthy weight.
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*Huynh DT et al. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015;28:623-35. Complete nutrition with high protein, calcium, vitamin D, iron & source of zinc. As part of daily diet. Individual results may vary.
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