Designer Vikings? Danish parents want taller sons

An increasing number of Danish parents are requesting that their sons be treated with growth hormone so that they will be taller adults, according to a report in Kristeligt Dagblad.

Designer Vikings? Danish parents want taller sons
Danish boys at a role playing event in Hald Ege. Photo: Preben Madsen/Scanpix
Citing statistics from Odense University Hospital (OUH) and Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet, the newspaper wrote that Denmark’s children’s wards have seen a three- to fourfold increase over the past 15 years in the number of parents who are concerned about the height of their male children. Other doctors from across Denmark confirmed the trend. 
The desire to boost their sons’ growth comes despite the fact that “Danish children have never been taller”, according to Jørgen Schou, the head doctor at OUH’s children’s ward. 
“We are seeing parents who are worried [about their children’s height] and more likely to have their children tested earlier in life than in the past. Parents who want to optimize their children’s chances in life,” Schou told Kristeligt Dagblad. 
Most of the children being brought in for consultation are still in their primary school years and Schou said that many parents seem to think that 175cm is the ideal height for their children. If their sons aren’t on pace for that, they worry that they will have trouble finding a mate or advancing their career. 
He said that parents often come in to explicitly request growth hormones for their sons but have their requests turned down. Simply being short for one’s age isn’t enough to qualify for growth hormones. 
“We have clear guidelines for who can be offered growth hormones,” Anders Juul from Rigshopital told Kristeligt Dagblad. 
Juul said that it is often well-off parents who request the growth hormone treatment, something that was backed up by Kristen Holm, the head of the children’s ward at Nordsjællands Hospital in Hillerød, one of the wealthiest areas in Denmark. 
“I regularly encounter parents of healthy children who are not satisfied with their children’s height. There is enormous prestige associated with being tall,” she told Kristeligt Dagblad, adding that parents often refuse to take no for an answer and say that they will buy growth hormones online. 
The vast majority of young Danish men – a full 95 percent – are between 168cm (5’ 6”) and 194cm (6’4”)  which is considered ‘normal’ in Denmark. 
According to a 2014 report, Danish men are the third tallest in the world with an average height of 180.6cm (5’ 11”).

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Danish agency criticised for failure to collect child support debts from abroad

Denmark’s parliamentary ombudsman has criticised the Danish Debt Collection Agency (Gældsstyrelsen) for failing to prioritise debts related to child support payments from persons who reside abroad.

Danish agency criticised for failure to collect child support debts from abroad

The child support payment, børne- og underholdsbidrag or more commonly børnebidrag in Danish, must generally be paid by one parent of a child to the other of the other if they do not live together.

But the Debt Collection Agency has done too little to collect payments of the contribution from abroad, the Ombudsman said in a press statement on Tuesday.

“Collection of child support contributions are of major importance for the financial circumstances in many homes,” ombudsman Niels Fenger said in the statement.

“It is therefore criticisable that the agency has, for almost five years, generally not promoted the collection of these contributions,” the watchdog added.

According to the Danish Debt Collection Agency, some 12,500 persons outside of Denmark have outstanding debts related to the child payments, totalling 2.3 billion kroner.

Collection of the money has been complicated by a lack of procedures in the area, the agency said.

Instead of sending requests to authorities in the relevant countries for collection of the debt, the Danish Debt Collection Agency has prioritised assisting foreign authorities in collecting debts outstanding in Denmark, it told the Ombudsman.

It also said that it would now prioritise collecting the Danish debts, and would produce a plan for the work.

This plan will be shared with the Ombudsman when it is completed later this year.

A large amount of debt is tied up in an old system, DMI, which does not allow wage deductions as a method of collection. A new system, PRSM, does enable this.

The agency is therefore working to transfer many of the debts from the old system to the new one, it reported to the Ombudsman.

READ ALSO: Denmark uses new method to collect debt from public