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Why do we shrink as we age? © Getty Images

Why do we shrink as we age?

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As humans get older, they get shorter.

Asked by: Ben Page Martin, Nottingham

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The cartilage pads between the joints in your legs and spine gradually wear away as you get older, and osteoporosis can cause the vertebrae themselves to shrink slightly. You also lose muscle as you age and all of these factors mean your skeleton slumps down a little more. Between the age of 30 and 70, this adds up to about 3cm height loss for men and 5cm for women, increasing to 5cm and 8cm by age 80.


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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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