Men have grown 11 cm in a century

Posted by thingsnews Categories: Environment, News, Technology Sep - 2 - 2013 0 Comment 238 views

  

Increases in human stature are a key indicator of improvements in the average health of populations. In this article I present and analyse a new data set for the average height of adult male birth cohorts, from the mid-nineteenth century to 1980, in 15 European countries.

In little more than a century average height increased by 11 cm—representing a dramatic improvement in health. Interestingly, there was some acceleration in the period spanning the two world wars and the Great Depression. The evidence suggests that the most important proximate source of increasing height was the improving disease environment as reflected by the fall in infant mortality.

Rising income and education and falling family size had more modest effects. Improvements in health care are hard to identify, and the effects of welfare state spending seem to have been small.

Men have grown 11 cm in a century 350x334 on  Men have grown 11 cm in a century

For British men, the average height at age 21 rose from 167.05cm (5ft 5in) in 1871-5 to 177.37cm (5ft 10in) in 1971-5.

A public health expert said height was a “useful barometer” but it was crucial to focus on improving health overall.

The paper, published in the journal Oxford Economic Papers, looked at data from sources including military records and modern population surveys from the 1870s to 1980 in 15 European countries.

It only looked at male height because there was too little historical data for women.






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