Shortness puts people at a marked disadvantage. Short children are more likely to be teased and bullied (called names such as "shrimp", "midget" and "dwarf") and start failing at school. Later they find it harder to get jobs and to adjust socially as adults.
Human growth hormone, among the first natural products manufactured through recombinant DNA technology, is normally produced by the pituitary gland. It stimulates skeletal growth and has numerous other physiological effects. Small amounts are secreted even after a person stops growing. A group of USA scientists embarked on an experiment to boost the height of very short but otherwise healthy children by giving them human growth hormone through their teenage years. They claim they need to test the treatment which is increasingly demanded by parents.
In a sample of more than 5,000 men who passed a US Air Force Academy entrance examination after 25 years those who were between 1.65 and 1.68 metres tall earned $2,500 a year less than those who were between 1.80 and 1.85 metres tall.