Researchers from the universities of Southern California, Harvard, and Beijing say it is the first time it has been shown that choices we make later in life, rather than in early childhood, can influence our height. Using data from a survey of 17,708 adults beginning at age 45, the researchers showed a number of new influences - including education - which determined how much we shrank. They showed that regardless of your maximum height, the loss of height over time is also an important indicator for other health issues as we age.
The study found that those who had lost more height were also much more likely to perform poorly on standard tests of cognitive health, such as short-term memory, ability to perform basic arithmetic and awareness of the date.
Urban dwellers had much less height loss than those in rural areas, and having completed primary school - rather than being illiterate - is associated with 0.9 cm less height shrinkage in men.
Completing high school meant a further 1 cm less in shrinkage.
For women, having completed primary school was the difference in 0.6 cm of shrinkage, compared to an average overall height decrease of 3.8 cm.
So, mothers might have been better telling their kids to finish their homework as well as their greens to grow big and strong!