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World's Tallest and Shortest People

Testing for Height in sports is an important measurement to monitor growth. Here we discuss the extremes of height, the shortest and tallest humans. See also about the tallest and shortest people in sports.

This information about the tallest and shortest people of the world may change, as people grow and also as many of the people with extremes of height have medical issues and may not live for long periods. The Guinness World Records are seen as the adjudicators of the world's tallest and shortest people. They take accurate measurements of standing and lying down height and average the two. 

World's Tallest Man - Ever

The tallest man ever was Robert Wadlow, who was 272 cm (8 ft 11.1 in). He died in 1940 aged 22. He weighed 485 lb (220 kg) at the time of his death. His extreme height was due to hypertrophy of his pituitary gland. His shoe size was 37AA (18.5 in. or 47 cm long) and his hands measured 12.75 in. (32.4 cm) from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger. His arm span was 9 ft. 5.75 in. (2.88 m). (ref: 2002 Guinness World Records).

tallest man Robert Wadlow

Here is a record of his height and weight throughout his life. He was still growing taller up to the day he died.

Age Height (ft/in) Height (m) Weight (lbs) Weight (kg)
birth N/A N/A 8.5 3.9
6 mths N/A N/A 30 13.6
1 N/A N/A 45 20.4
1.5 N/A N/A 67 30.4
5 5'4" 1.63 105 47.6
8 6' 1.83 169 76.7
9 6'2" 1.88 180 81.7
10 6'5" 1.96 210 95.3
12 6'11" 2.11 241 109.3
14 7'5" 2.26 301 136.5
16 7'10" 2.39 374 169.6
18 8'4" 2.54 391 177.4
20 8'7' 2.62 488 224.4
21 8'8" 2.64 492 223.2
22.4 8'11.1" 2.72 439 199.1

World's Tallest Man - Current

The current world's tallest man (as of 2016), is Sultan Kosen who measures 251cm centimetres (8 ft 3 in) - measured by Guinness World Records on 9 February 2011. He is from Türkiye and was 33 years old in 2016. He took over the title from China's Bao Xishun, who was 'only' 2.36m. There may be a taller man - Ukrainian Leonid Stadnyk claims to be 10.5cm taller than Mr Kosen, though fails to qualify for the record because he refused to be measured by Guinness World Records officials.

As with many of the world's tallest men, he has had a dysfunction with his body's release of growth hormone. Kosen's rate of growth surged from the age of ten because of a tumor which caused too much growth hormone to be released from his pituitary gland. The tumor was successfully removed by surgery and he finally stopped growing in 2008.

Sultan Kosen also has the record for the world's largest hands and feet, measuring 27.5cm and 36.5cm respectively. Such sized hands would be very desirable in many sports. See also the information about the tallest people in sports.

World's Shortest Man

Here are the recent title holders of the world's shortest man, according to the Guinness World Records. Defining a man, the person must be at least 18 years old. These records are for people who can walk. Chandra Bahadur Dangi from Nepal, who died in 1015 aged 75 years, has been declared the shortest human adult ever documented, taking the mantle from India's Gul Mohammed, who was measured at 57cm before he died in 1997 aged 40. The current world's shortest man is Filipino Junrey Balawing.

Recent Shortest Men

height name notes
74 cm
(2 ft 5 in)
He Pingping From China. He was only 21 when he died March 13, 2010 of chest problems. He suffered from a form of primordial dwarfism.
70 cm
(2 ft 3 1⁄2 in)
Edward "Nino" Hernandez From Bogotá, Colombia. Weighed 10 kg (22 lb). Was named as the world's shortest living man on September 4, 2010. He was 24 when Khagendra took over his title (when he turned 18).
65.5 cm
(2 ft 1.8 in)
Khagendra Thapa Magar From Nepal. Turned 18 on October 14, 2010. Weighed 5.5 kilos. He was a primordial dwarf. Died January 2020.
54.6cm (21 1⁄2 in) Chandra Bahadur Dangi  1939–2015. From Nepal. Weighed 12kg. Chandra died aged 75 in September 2015.
57.0 cm (22.4 in) Gul Mohammed From India. 1957–1997
59.93 cm
(23.6 inches, 1 ft 11 1⁄2 in)
Junrey Balawing From the Philippines, turned 18 on June 12, 2011. Stopped growing when he was two years old. Weighs just 5kgs. 

Being tall is usually more desirable in sports, though in some sports like diving, gymnastics and for jockeys short stature is advantageous. See the information about the shortest people in sports.

World's Shortest Woman

The smallest woman in the world, currently living, is Jyoti Amge is from Nagpur, India, and measures 23.0 (58.4cm) inches. The smallest woman ever recorded was Pauline Musters (1876–1895), who was 23 inches (58 cm) tall.

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