Does Losing Weight Make You Taller? - Busting the Myth

  • By Performance Lab
  • 4 minute read
Does Losing Weight Make You Taller? - Busting the Myth

Although you can alter many aspects of appearance, height isn’t one of them. We can wear high heels, shoe lifts, or flats to change the appearance of how tall we are, but at the end of the day, your height isn’t something you can do much about.

But there’s a rumor that taking inches from the middle can add inches to the top. That is, losing weight around the abdomen could make you taller.

Although this seems like it could be plausible, is it? We’re digging through the research and giving you the answers about how weight influences height.

Let’s get started.

Does Body Weight Influence Height?

Many people are under the impression that dropping pounds could increase their height—but it’s simply not true. Although there may be a perceived relationship between height and weight, studies suggest otherwise 1.

Losing weight may support better health, but it won't support better height. There is a caveat—your diet and lifestyle during adolescence can influence your growth.

A 2018 study published in Cancer Causes Control found that childhood diet and growth potential/growth contribute to earlier pubertal timing and result in taller attained height in males 2.

Interestingly, some research also suggests that early weight gain is associated with a taller stature in childhood, potentially due to increased growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 3.

But for those who have reached adulthood, eating yourself taller isn’t in the book. However, there is some good news. Losing weight and partaking in healthier lifestyle habits can help you appear taller. Will it actually make you taller? No. But it can help you look taller, which means a win-win for everyone.

Keep in mind that weight loss involves healthy eating habits and exercise, and even if those don’t change your stature, they will offer several other benefits.

What Does Affect Height?

Although we’d all love to pick our height, doing so isn’t possible—or at least not yet. Height varies over a lifetime, from childhood growth to adulthood to the elderly. But there are a few factors that are thought to play into your height 3-5:

  • Genetics (roughly 40-70%)
  • Childhood and adolescent sleep habits
  • Childhood and adolescent physical activity
  • Childhood and adolescent nutrition habits
  • Aging (posture and bone density)
  • Medical conditions

Although your nanna may be pint-sized now, it’s not likely she always was. Aging significantly impacts height, but according to research, nutrition and lifestyle choices throughout childhood and adolescence can make or break your adult height.

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But while all of these factors play into your actual height, your perceived height is different—that’s where things like posture and waistline can work their magic on height.

Can Losing Weight Help You Appear Taller?

Losing weight may not physically help your height, but it can help you appear taller. A 2013 study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review found that being tall makes you look thinner, and being thin can also make you look taller 6. However, the latter argument is much less pronounced.

Losing weight may help you look taller, but it’s all relative. If you’re standing next to tall people, chances are it’s not going to make the illusion completely believable, but there are other benefits to losing weight that can contribute to your health, such as your posture.

The opposite may be true of weight gain. More abdominal obesity and overall body mass can cause poor posture, making you appear shorter than you are. Plus, obesity and excess body mass can also result in disc compression.

Studies show a strong association between overweight/obesity and disk degeneration and an increased prevalence of lower back pain 7. Together, these physically decrease your height—but this applies more to people who are obese or gain more weight than five or ten pounds.

The Benefits Of Weight Loss

Although losing weight may not offer great benefits for your height, there are several benefits you can reap from dropping a few pounds.

Where your height is concerned, better posture is a biggie. Most overweight people struggle with serious postural issues because they carry around excess kilos that strain their tissues and joints. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and joint dysfunction.

And as time goes on, this extra pressure on joints can cause you to actually “shrink” in height. So, weight loss is the perfect recipe for better posture! Why?

  1. Less belly fat improves the function of the core musculature
  2. The spine needs to bend, and losing fat around the midsection makes that easier
  3. Less load means better joint health
  4. Strong and functional postural muscles actively work against gravity, which elongates and lengthens the spine
  5. Losing weight improves the flexibility and mobility of the joints and muscles

When people feel confident, they tend to stand taller, which helps them appear taller. But decreased body mass also reduces the load on the spine, which can improve physical stature.

Wait—there’s more. Weight loss can also lead to:

  • Better heart health
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce triglycerides
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Improved mobility
  • Less pain
  • Better sex
  • Less erectile dysfunction
  • Improved mood
  • Better sleep
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Improved insulin resistance (better blood sugar control)
  • Reduced cancer risk

Why wouldn’t you want to maintain a healthy weight with all those benefits? Remember that the scale’s number doesn’t always indicate “health.” Body fat mass is a better indication, as the total weight doesn’t account for muscle mass.

So, if you’re looking to maximize your health, start with getting a body scan! It’s a simple and effective way to gauge where you’re at and where you need to go. Then, you can start setting goals, implementing diet and lifestyle changes, and tracking your progress.

The Takeaway

Losing weight may not physically make you taller, but it can improve your posture and lead to many health benefits, such as better heart health, blood sugar control, better mood, improved sleep, and higher self-esteem. What’s not to love about that?


  1. Stovitz SD, Demerath EW, Hannan PJ, Lytle LA, Himes JH. Growing into obesity: patterns of height growth in those who become normal weight, overweight, or obese as young adults. Am J Hum Biol. 2011;23(5):635-641.
  2. Alimujiang A, Colditz GA, Gardner JD, Park Y, Berkey CS, Sutcliffe S. Childhood diet and growth in boys in relation to puberty and adult height timing: the Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development. Cancer Causes Control. 2018;29(10):915-926.
  3. Norris SA, Frongillo EA, Black MM, et al. Nutrition in adolescent growth and development.  2022;399(10320):172-184.
  4. McEvoy BP, Visscher PM. Genetics of human height. Econ Hum Biol. 2009;7(3):294-306.
  5. Grasgruber P, Cacek J, Kalina T, Sebera M. The role of nutrition and genetics as key determinants of the positive height trend. Econ Hum Biol. 2014;15:81-100.
  6. Beck DM, Emanuele B, Savazzi S. A new illusion of height and width: taller people are perceived as thinner. Psychon Bull Rev. 2013;20(6):1154-1160.
  7. Samartzis D, Karppinen J, Cheung JP, Lotz J. Disk degeneration and low back pain: are they fat-related conditions?. Global Spine J. 2013;3(3):133-144.