Shockingly, an unhealthy diet stunts the growth of teenagers by up to 20 centimetres. This frightening statistic was researched by Imperial Collage London. This global study suggests that inadequate nutrition throughout a teenager’s life, contributes to a lack of stature, low bone density and a weak immune system. It was found that most 19-year olds in south eastern Asia, Latin America and east Africa were the shortest in the world, whilst the tallest 19-year olds were found in central Europe.


In the 1800s, Victorian people were on average 2 inches shorter than the 1900s due to changing from farming to urbanisation and working in the newly industrial cities. This has resulted in malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and respiratory illnesses on an unprecedented scale. Rich and poor children had little food choices they lived on dripping, bread, tea and rotten vegetables not a balanced diet.

Teenage Lifestyle

In Addition, teenager’s growth can be stunted if they get less than the recommended 9 hours of sleep a night. Recent studies have linked sleep deprivation to teenagers being addicted to social media, gaming and foods that contain caffeine. Some teenagers are only getting three to four hours of sleep per night which can supress the growth hormone, somatotropin, it is a peptide hormone what stimulates growth, cell regeneration and cell reproduction, therefore over the long term, a teenager’s growth may be stunted.

Furthermore, the Journal Annals of Epidemiology found that smoking can stunt the growth of teenage boys by 2.54 centimetres, the old saying that “Smoking will stunt your growth”, appears to be true in boys, possibly because they’re still growing, boys can still be growing up to the age of 21.