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Best `height-enhancing` drugs

Posted October. 31, 2012 03:17,   


Sara, a 12-year-old German girl, is 177 centimeters (5-feet-9) tall. After an examination, doctors predicted that she could grow to 190 centimeters (6-feet-3). Since her friends teased her over her height, she underwent painful surgery that drilled her knees and blocked growth plates to curb further growth. Even after the procedure, she grew beyond 180 centimeters (5-feet-11). Lisa, an African-American girl in the U.S. is just 16 but 199 centimeters (6-feet-6) tall. She is girly but was chosen for her school`s basketball team. Lisa is at a crossroads, not knowing what to do between a life based on her height or one that befits her personality.

“Tall Girls: A Story of Giants,” a film on the lives of women taller than 185 centimeters (6-feet-1), was shown in this year’s EBS International Documentary Festival in Seoul. Life is not easy for tall girls. They find it hard to get a date because of the perception that tall girls are tough and aggressive. They can also get stares in elevators or subways as if they are monkeys in a zoo. Their parents have them take hormones and even undergo surgery to prevent them from growing taller, but to no avail. The movie`s director Edda Baumann-von Broen said she made the movie to help her daughter learn how to live a life as a tall woman.

In South Korea, however, being tall is something to envy. Complaints from those who struggle with tallness might sound like the rich grumbling. With growing interest in height, many false and hyped-up ads for growth drugs that help grow taller have sprang up. The Fair Trade Commission on Monday issued a warning on growth drugs. Most growth drugs are health supplements whose effects have not been scientifically proven. The bigger problem is a society that discriminates between tall and short people.

According to the (South) Korean Agency for Technology and Standards under the Knowledge Economy Ministry, the height of the average South Korean man is 174 centimeters (5-feet-8.5) and that of the average South Korean woman is 160.5 centimeters (5-feet-3). North Koreans are far shorter than their South Korean counterparts. Nutrition plays a bigger role than genetics in determining height. There is no standard or average size for the human body. If parents want their children to grow tall, they should let their offspring sleep well instead of using other unproven and useless options and wasting money. Height is affected by growth hormones that are released when children sleep, mostly from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Children who play, eat and sleep well grow taller.

Editorial Writer Koh Mi-seok (mskoh119@donga.com)