Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Short Americans & Why It Matters

There have been a few interesting articles out lately citing a new study on height and it's relevance to society. "The study found that partially because of lifestyle, America has the shortest population in the industrialized world."
For 2oo years Americans were the tallest, but have lost that advantage for the past 50 years. Why should this matter? "A nation's average height is about more than bragging rights. Historians have found height to be about the best single indicator of a nation's success, reflecting not just wealth but overall health and well-being."
Who are the tallest - the Danish who have gained an inch in height for the past years. The average height for men is six feet while for women it is 5'7. " It seems that Americans stop growing earlier than the Dutch due to our high calorie diet which suppresses the human growth hormone. 160 years ago the Danish were 2" shorter than American.
"Scientists have pinpointed two secrets to Holland's soaring population.
First, the Dutch have some of the world's best healthcare, particularly at the stages of life that really make a difference for how tall we end up -- prenatal and the early years of childhood.
Second, they spread the health around. The most well-off Americans are tall, but less-privileged groups across all races bring down the average."
The average height for Japanese men is 5'7 while for American men it's 5'10" and 5'3" for women. "Despite the growing pains, it's nearly all good news for the Dutch. Tall people have lots of advantages: They earn more, they are elected more often, they are luckier at love and they live longer. That's another way America at number 28 in the world for life expectancy just doesn't measure up -- certainly not to the soaring Dutch."
"We conjecture that the U.S. health-care system, as well as the relatively weak welfare safety net, might be why human growth in the United States has not performed as well in relative terms ..."
Not that it matters At All, I am 5'8", my husband 6', & both sons are 6'3, maybe 6'4. It's hard to measure when they're that tall.
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