Thursday, July 19, 2007

Americans Once Tallest — But Not Anymore

From the days of the founding fathers right on through the industrial revolution and two world wars, Americans literally towered over other nations. Americans reached a height plateau after World War II, gradually falling behind the rest of the world as it continued growing taller. By the time the baby boomers reached adulthood in the 1960s, most northern and western European countries had caught up with and surpassed the United States.

Young adults in Japan and other prosperous Asian countries now stand nearly as tall as Americans do. In Holland, the tallest country in the world, the typical man now measures 6 feet, a good two inches more than his average American counterpart.

Many economists would argue that it does matter, because height is correlated with numerous measures of a population's well-being. Tall people are healthier, wealthier and live longer than short people. Some researchers have even suggested that tall people are more intelligent.

It's not that being tall actually makes you smarter, richer or healthier. It's that the same things that make you tall — a nutritious diet, good prenatal care and a healthy childhood — also benefit you in those other ways.

That makes height a good indicator for economists who are interested in measuring how well a nation provides for its citizens during their prime growing years. With one simple, easily collected statistic, economists can essentially measure how well a society prepares its children for life.
Interesting. Not a good sign that the average height in the US is going down.

via Desert News


MensaRefugee said...

Either that or all the growth hormones in our milk...

Audacious Epigone said...

Amerindians are short. Our immigration policies are going to make us shorter on average.

As for height being a good indicator of how a population/nation provides for itself: There is hardly a better duo than the Koreas, where South Koreans are ~6 inches taller than their brethren to the north.

Fat Knowledge said...


Or else the GM modified food. :)


Interesting point on the Koreans.

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