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Analysis of human growth : The largest people in the world live on the North and Baltic Seas

A study shows that people were significantly shorter 100 years ago. Iranians and South Koreans in particular have skyrocketed.

from dpa, shz.de
July 27, 2016, 3:35 p.m.

London | The longest people in the world live in the Baltic States and the BeNeLux countries. This is the result of a study by almost 800 scientists led by Imperial College in London. According to this, Latvia clearly has its nose up with women. At just under 1.70 meters, the average Latvian measures almost one centimeter more than the average Dutch woman in second place. For men, the Dutch enjoy the purest mountain air. According to the analysis collected, the average 18-year-old Dutch person was about 182.5 centimeters tall in 2014.

In many parts of the world, people have continued to gain height over the past 100 years. The London study is not only of interest to biologists, physicians and anthropologists. It also roughly outlines social development.

Denmark also broke the 1.81 meter mark for men - alongside Belgium, Estonia and Latvia. The Danes landed in 7th place with 1.67 meters. Germany ranks 11th in the men's ranking with 1.80 meters, and 14th for women (1.66 meters). In 2014, the smallest men lived in East Timor (1.60 meters), the smallest women in Guatemala (1.49 meters). The study shows that in some sub-Saharan African countries such as Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, the mean population has shrunk by an average of five centimeters. The Egyptians have also been getting smaller again for several decades.

It also emerged that the people in many countries have grown considerably larger over the past 100 years. This was most evident among men in Iran and women in South Korea. While the Iranians are on average 20.2 centimeters taller than they were 100 years ago, the South Koreans have grown by 16.5 centimeters. British men and women only gained about eleven centimeters during this time, while Americans only gained six centimeters for men and five centimeters for women. 100 years ago, US men took third and US women fourth in the statistics, the researchers write. In fact, the US population has stagnated over the past 30 years, as has the UK, Finland and Japan. This ebb has been observed in some wealthy countries. After jumps, the growth stagnates at some point. The increased proportion of Hispanics in the US over the past few decades may also be a reason, but it is not mentioned.

Majid Ezzati's international team of researchers examined data on the height of people in 200 countries who were born between 1896 and 1996. The researchers hope that the findings will allow conclusions to be drawn about the state of health and supply in the countries examined, because body size is not only based on genetic reasons. For example, those who are malnourished or often sick in childhood and adolescence will normally be shorter, according to the report. "This study gives us a picture of the health of whole peoples over the past hundred years," said Majid Ezzati. Those who are taller live longer on average and are less prone to cardiovascular diseases.

Why the Dutch, who used to be among the smallest Europeans, are now the largest has been speculated for years. It can be seen that between 1935 and 1967 there was an increased increase among tall people. Researchers also see the fact that Dutch people - unlike Americans, for example - marry later and therefore have children later as a possible indication of a later explanation of the question. This may affect the child's height. But so far these are just speculations.