Luis Davilla/ age fotostock/Getty
The height of men and women in the UK has increased by around 11 centimetres over the last century. But the nation with the tallest average height for men is the Netherlands, while the tallest average height for women is found in Latvia.
The largest ever study of global height found that in 2014, men in the Netherlands had an average height of 182.5 centimetres (5 feet, 11 inches). The average female height in Latvia was 170 centimetres (5 feet, 7 inches).
The tallest nations worldwide are all found in Europe, and also include Estonia, Denmark, Servia and the Czech Republic. While the US had the third-tallest men and fourth-tallest women in the world back in 1914, the US has now slipped to 37th and 42nd place, respectively. British men are the 31st tallest worldwide, while British women are 38th.
“Our study shows the English-speaking world, especially the US, is falling behind other high-income nations in Europe and Asia Pacific,” said Majid Ezzati, a global health researcher at Imperial College London. “Together with the poor performance of these countries in terms of obesity, this emphasises the need for more effective policies towards healthy nutrition throughout life.”
The greatest height increases over the past century were seen in women in South Korea – who are now an average of 20.2 centimetres taller – and men in Iran, where the average male height has increased by 16.5 centimetres. Iran has also seen large improvements in life expectancy in recent decades, in part due to new rural health programmes.
But people are not getting taller everywhere. The average height of young men and women has decreased by as much as 5 centimetres in the past 40 years in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, such as Sierra Leone, Uganda and Rwanda.
“The average height of some nations may even be shrinking while others continue to grow taller,” says Ezzati. “This confirms we urgently need to address children and adolescents’ environment and nutrition on a global scale.”
Journal reference: eLife, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.13410
More on these topics:
Copyright Disclaimer:This article has been RSS syndicated and was originally published here.