ANOTHER thing to worry about is that we are growing...


January 25, 1995

ANOTHER thing to worry about is that we are growing taller.

Because of better nutrition, most of us stand taller than our parents and grandparents. But with human growth hormone and genetic engineering, our children and grandchildren can reach higher yet. "We can easily foresee bigger and bigger humans," Thomas T. Samaras writes in the current issue of The Futurist magazine. "Early in the 21st century [that's the one that starts in five years], basketball players may need to be 8 to 10 feet tall to have any hope of success."

This would be a disaster, Mr. Samaras thinks. Big people use more of the earth's precious resources. They require more food and water, more wool for their sweaters, more wood or plastic for their furniture, hence more fertilizers and pesticides, more land for crops and pastures and homes and shopping malls, more energy for heating and cooling, more space in airplanes and theaters. And they produce more waste than short people.

Mr. Samaras, a management consultant, thinks we should encourage the production of short people. Short people are more efficient, require less space and are stronger, pound for pound. And a French magazine, he reports, found that women think short men are better lovers, possibly because they may be less egotistical than tall men.

Mr. Samaras wants schools to educate people that short is beautiful, as a first step toward reversing the tallness trend. And he suggests that nutritional scientists develop low-calorie, low-fat diets for children to keep them compact but vigorous.

One may be forgiven for speculating about Mr. Samaras' motivations, but, no -- at a very average 5-foot-10, he's as unbiased as can be.

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