London, Feb. 21: A boy's height in the first 12 months of his life can determine his job prospects and salary, the latest research suggests.
A study of more than 4,500 men showed that those who were taller than average by the time they were a year old earned more than their shorter counterparts 50 years later, irrespective of their family background.
Growth after the first 12 months seemed to be much less important. A child who was 28 inches or less in height at age one was twice as likely to be doing manual work in adulthood compared to a boy who was more than 31-and-a-half inches at the same age.
Researchers said babies who grew slowly tended towards levels of academic achievement lower than those who grew quickly. This may be because slow physical growth was accompanied by slow brain development.
Another theory is that short babies are not so well-nourished and frequently ill, so missing out on physical activity and sensory stimulation, limiting brain growth.
The research is the latest in a series of studies that link height to success. Short boys are said to be more likely to be held back at school than their taller classmates. Taller men are also reported to be more sexually attractive and more likely to father children.
However, men prefer shorter women, so the two sexes are unlikely to end up the same height over the course of evolution. The latest research, published today in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, examined 4,630 men born in Helsinki, Finland, between 1934 and 1944.
A recent study by the London Guildhall University said short men and plain or overweight women were earning thousands of pounds less than their colleagues.