The “77% the Height of Adults” Myth About Kids’ Size

Recently, the Wall Street Journal’s online edition published an opinion piece which discussed the questionable raison d’etre behind the little known “Equal Pay Day.”  Only slightly less familiar to the general public is another “day” that has dubious origins.

Nearly a decade ago, April 14th, 2005 to be exact, the federal government acknowledged the plight of kids across the country by establishing “Equal Height Day”.  Much like “Equal Pay Day”, “Equal Height Day” seeks to raise awareness for a specific social injustice–that kids are shorter than their adult counterparts–by adding a second title to the otherwise repetitious monikers (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) that help distinguish each complete rotation the Earth makes on its axis.  Though left unsaid, it is clear that supporters of “Equal Height Day” are hoping to achieve a portion of the attention they receive on other dually designated days–notably “Christmas Day” and “My Birthday”.  The trouble with the claim that kids are shorter than adults, however, comes when the supporting data is examined.

To begin, while it is easy to remember that each of us once had to tilt our head back to look at an adult’s face, we shouldn’t let nostalgic feelings affect the science of the problem.  Kids–by definition–are still growing.  Adults are done growing.  Even if it were possible to measure each kid at precisely the same moment and compare the resultant median kid height to the median adult height, the data will have changed before the ink of the report dries, so to speak.

Next, it appears that instead of actually measuring a bunch of kids with a tape measure, the researchers simply went residence to residence and measured existing lines drawn by caring parents on kitchen walls.  But everyone knows that kids use tip-toes when measured at home.

Lastly, and most deploringly, these very same researchers did not even measure the adults who took part in the study.  Instead, they opted to simply ask the adults how tall they were.

This last decision should betray more about the supporters of “Equal Height Day” than just insufficient methods.

Only kids would believe that adults tell the truth.






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