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Monday, October 18, 2010

Foot for thought

So I woke up the other day and what do I see in the mirror, but my own feet. And I was surprised at how big they were (are). Well they have been that way for a while now (duh!) , but the image still got me thinking.

Did your mother also chase you in your childhood, going 'Drink your milk baba, else you wont grow tall!'. I dont know about you, but my mum did use to chase me, but I used to hate milk, and scoffed off the idea that milk would make me taller. It was all the genes, wasnt it? Drinking more milk aint gonna make a genetically short guy taller da.

Well thats not true. After all these years now I find out that nutrition has a large impact on how tall we get. Ever wondered why Westerners are taller? Its partly genes but also partly the fact that they get more nutrition.

Or else, ever wondered why we are by rule getting to be taller than our parents, and they themselves are usually taller than our grandparents (exceptions are few)? If this were to happen all the time shouldn't we all hit 7 or 8 feet heights in two centuries? Actually this generational height creep is only happening in developing worlds - not in the West. And that's because nutrition levels are still getting better in India. We are finally reaching our full height potential after generations of under-nourishment, but there is still probably a couple of generations at least before we tail off and stagnate.

Sadly, this height creep is not really happening for a lot of communities in India. I observed in Ahmedabad how sweepers and janitors are usually so so short. 4 feet tall and such. Casteism showing up its ugly head.

So, to come to the point, ie, my morning musing. Perhaps your feet and palms* grow as big as your genes define them to, but your body may or may not, depending on nutrition. So those with disproportionately large feet and palms (such as yours truly) just missed out, but perhaps their offspring will end up being tall if they listen to their mothers about milk! What do you reckon 0 aint that foot for thought?

* And something else too, I know you were thinking of that!

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