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Success Stories

By Jan Jarvis
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Advantages of height

In matters of money and the heart, taller people, especially men, simply fare better.

Numerous studies have shown that they land the top jobs, make the most money and consistently win the girl.

A 2001 study of 359 men in Britain found that those who never married were, on average, not quite an inch shorter than their married peers. Other surveys have found that 90 percent of executives are above-average height and that taller men earned an extra $600 per inch. Even in politics, taller men are consistently elected president.

The psychological effect of being short is one of the biggest reasons given by parents for treating children with growth hormones. For many, the teasing starts in elementary school and follows a child into adulthood.

"Although it may be natural to be short, I certainly see a lot of children in great angst because they are the smallest in their class year after year," said Dr. Dana Hardin, a Dallas pediatric endocrinologist.

Patricia Costa, executive director of the Human Growth Foundation, said the organization receives hundreds of calls from parents worried about their child's height. The nonprofit support group is based in Glen Head, N.Y.

"In almost every case, the conversation turns to the bullying, teasing and isolation that these children deal with," said Costa, whose daughter Nicole grew to 5 feet 2 inches with the help of hormones.

Both mother and daughter testified before the FDA on the benefits of taking the hormones.

Kyler has learned to shrug off the occasional rude comment. But the older she gets, the more her height has become an issue. She wants to be a dancer, but most professional companies have a minimum height requirement of 5 feet 4 inches, she said.

Kyler's parents are shorter than average, but said they did not push their daughter to take the hormones. Kyler's father, Brian, said his biggest concern has been his daughter's mental health.

"I just want her to be happy with herself," he said.

That's a common attitude among parents, said Costa, who said she doubts that many parents will consider growth hormones for vanity's sake.

"Sure it's not a picture-perfect world we live in, and there are going to be parents who want their daughters to be models and sons to be basketball players," she said. "But I don't think there are that many parents who will subject their child to daily injections for cosmetic reasons."~*

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