Revealed: The Average Height of Indian People

by   |   Jun 12, 2024

Height is widely believed and considered one of the major measures of physical growth and biological standard of living at the population level. And today, we would like to reveal another interesting piece of information about the average height of Indian people. Are they getting shorter or taller compared to the global average one?

Find out the answer in the article below!

What is the average height of Indian men and women?

The mean height of Indian men is now 5 feet 5.5 inches (166.5 cm); meanwhile, the mean height of Indian women is 5 feet 1.1 inches (155.2 cm).

Are the Indians short or tall?

According to the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, Indian people are growing taller. The average height of women increased up to 2 inches from 1914 to 2014 and that of men by nearly 1 inch. But the height of Indians is at the slowest rate in the world. In terms of height in 1914, Indian men ranked 101 among 200 countries while Indian women ranked 163. But in 2019, Indian men ranked 180th, while Indian women gained 182nd [1].



A recent study published on Plos One, mentioning the average height of adults in India declined at an alarming rate [2].

The study collected data available in National Family Health Surveys (NFHS). There have been five surveys in total, including one in 1992-1993, the second in 1998-1999, the third in 2005-2006, the fourth in 2015-2016, and the fifth in 2019-2020. As compared to NFHS 2, both NFHS 3 and 4 got a sharp and troubling decline in the mean height of Indian people. It found that men and women in the age group between 15 and 24 had seen a dangerous drop in height over the years. While women’s average height saw a decrease of 0.16 inches (0.42 cm), men saw a drop of 0.43 inches (1.10 cm).

The report pointed out that the decline is not just because of genetics, but the lifestyle of adults in India is affecting the mean height of the adult population.

India has one of the highest malnutrition and undernutrition levels in the world. After post-independence in 1947, malnutrition might have increased, and the health of pregnant women might have been ignored, which could adversely affect the height of children.

How does nutrition affect height growth?

Aside from genetics, nutrition is potentially one of the most crucial factors affecting height. In other words, height has a direct correlation with a healthy diet. If children lack proper nutrition, this might lead to different kinds of nutrient deficiencies. Badly, these deficiencies result in reduced or stunted growth and make children less tall than those with good nutrition.

Some nutritionists said that the height in the first two years of life is controlled mainly by the nutrition a child gets. And that decides an adult’s height. But there also have been cases of individuals who have overcome childhood stunning because of their economic capability.

That is why the first step towards a good height is to have a healthy and well-balanced diet. During the growing years, the body needs a suitable amount of various nutrients for proper growth and development. And foods rich in protein, calcium, vitamins, and other essential nutrients are required.

Take a look below to find out some food items you should add to your daily diet.

  • Milk delivers a good amount of protein and micronutrients needed for bone health and growth.
  • Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which play a key role in promoting sleep quality and bone turnover to improve height.
  • Eggs give a high amount of vitamin D, protein, and other essential micronutrients that could be related to increases in height.
  • Beans are high in protein and iron, which are necessary for overall growth.
  • Leafy green veggies are a good source of vitamin K, which is vital for supporting bone health.
  • Yogurt is rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium to help improve growth.
  • Berries have a great amount of vitamin C, which provides many health benefits in promoting cell growth and repairing tissues. It also helps boost collagen production.
  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin A, which is necessary for strengthening bone health. Besides, they have a lot of fiber that assists nutrient absorption and digestive health.
  • Quinoa includes helpful substances, such as protein and magnesium, for enhancing bone mineral density.

What are other factors affecting height?


Genes are the key factor determining a person’s height. There are over 700 different genes that affect height. While some might be responsible for growth hormone production, others affect the growth plates [3].


Our body naturally produces hormones to order the growth plates to create new bones. Human growth hormones are the most critical ones for growth and are made in the pituitary gland. Another kind is thyroid hormones, which affect growth effectively. Lastly, sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone, are essential for growth during puberty.

Gender and age

The truth is that men tend to be taller than women.

Women basically experience a growth spurt at the age of around 12.5 years, but then their height will subside after the beginning of their menstrual cycle. Although men have a growth spurt about 2 years after their female counterparts, they might continue to get taller than women.



Regularly missing sleep does not give any significant risk to one’s height, yet over time, this might reduce one’s maximum height potential. Children are easily susceptible to stunted growth if they lack sleep since their bodies are still growing. Also, sleep deprivation reduces HGH levels, which might hinder bone and muscle growth and recovery.


If you keep staying active daily, this will help maintain a healthy weight, strengthen muscles and bones, and enhance HGH production. Also, doing exercise early in life might positively allow a child to gain maximum height later in life. So, encourage them to focus on strength-building exercises, aerobic activities, and stretching exercises.


If you regularly slouch, your curves might adapt to a new posture that makes you look shorter than you are. Moreover, it could cause pain in your backbone and neck. Therefore, you need to practice good posture when standing, sitting, and walking. Or if you are not sure how to do it, talk to your doctor to get some advice.

In summary

The significant growth in height among the Indians over a century has not helped them in the global rankings because they are still one of the shortest people by nationality. That said, the average height is a reflection of the prevailing malnourishment and poor economic development in the country.

Besides, you might notice many important factors affecting height, except genetics. And for further information, you should read other articles on our website to know solutions that might help you improve height naturally yet effectively.

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