Recent Blog Articles

Staying Healthy

Why do I shrink in height as I age?

July 1, 2022

On call

photo of a mature man doing a plank pose exercise on a mat at home

Q. I am 68 years old. I used to be 5 feet, 9 inches tall. I just visited my doctor, and my height was just over 5 feet, 7 inches. What causes me to shrink, and what can I do to stop it?

A. Around age 40, most people lose some height, and the decline often accelerates in later decades. While multiple factors contribute to this "shrinkage," maintaining bone density to help prevent osteoporosis and improving posture are two ways to stand a little taller.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

You might also be interested in…

Osteoporosis: A guide to prevention and treatment

Each year, osteoporosis contributes to more than 2 million bone fractures in the United States. This Special Health Report, Osteoporosis: A guide to prevention and treatment, can help you keep your bones strong and healthy, and avoid fractures. It describes how you can prevent and treat osteoporosis through diet, exercise, and medications. You'll also find advice on the right amount of calcium and vitamin D, tips on fall-proofing your home, and help with putting together a personalized plan to preserve or boost your bone strength.

Read More

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.