Pediatrician Questions Pediatrician

Accurate way to measure height at home?

So from what I've read and seen in videos, the most accurate way to measure height at home is to have your heels, butt, shoulders, and head touch a wall with your head in the Frankfurt plane. Then mark the wall with something like an aerosol can. I also measure at night to make sure it's always my night height, I know we shrink during the day. When I have all of these points touch the wall and measure myself the position generally feels uncomfortable and looking in a mirror it looks like I'm leaning backward for all points to touch the wall. If I measure myself facing the wall (with my head in the same position) in a way that feels like I'm standing straight and naturally I typically measure about a quarter of an inch and sometimes even taller. I was wondering if there is a reason for this, or what the best posture would be. I know it's hardly a difference at all but I was just curious why the posture I've seen is supposed to be the best is uncomfortable for me?

Male | 18 years old

3 Answers

your answer seems correct
When we are measuring heights in multiple individuals a day we use the method you described of the back against the wall because that is what was standardized across ages and populations so we can develop accurate charts of growth across time. When you are only comparing your height from one day to another it doesn't matter how you measure as long as you do it the same way every time.
Good question. Having your back is to the wall is the best way to ensure that you are completely stretched to your full length. Unfortunately, most of us have slouched posture at baseline and true "upright" posture may feel uncomfortable because our muscles are not used to being in that position.

Heather Collette, MD, MHS-MEd

Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics

Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine

Yale University School of Medicine