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Weighing in on issue of height

January 22, 2007

I enjoyed your Jan. 15 article about medicalization of shortness ["Is Taller Better?"].

I grew up hearing about how my short father felt constantly unfavorably compared to his tall first cousins, who were roughly the same age.

While I thought the presentation was thorough, it occurred to me that knowing what percentage of heterosexual couples have a taller woman isn't very meaningful unless you know how many of them would do so if there was no preference for taller men.

Men generally are taller than women -- so I have to believe that taller man-shorter woman couples would predominate even if no woman paid attention to the height of her boyfriend prospects.

ANNE PAYNE

Jacksonville, Fla.

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Those of us who are less than average height soon learn to assert ourselves, which helps to level the playing field out in the world. If you're No. 2number two, you try harder. It's been my experience that many tall individuals -- especially men -- seem to think their height is intimidation enough, so they may not develop their skills to an optimum level -- except in athletics. In the business world, if they get the job, they may be less effective than the more aggressive shorter man.

ROSEMARY PATTERSON

Los Angeles

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Even with a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency, the decision to treat with growth hormone can be uncertain. Children like my first child, born with Costello syndrome, can develop a deficiency in the hormone that makes them eligible for growth hormone treatment.

Much more important than height, growth hormone helps them develop bone and muscle mass, which in turn gives them strength and stamina to walk and be more active.

But growth hormone treatment is controversial among our children's endocrinologists because some fear it will hasten or worsen two serious medical conditions our children can develop: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (thickening, or overgrowth, of the heart muscle) and cancer.

Our families make decisions based on medical uncertainty similar to those concerned about their children's height. But the stakes are higher.

LISA SCHOYER

President, Costello Syndrome

Family Network

Altadena

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