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A century of trends in adult human height

By July 1, 2016September 24th, 2020No Comments



NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC)

Being taller is associated with enhanced longevity, and higher education
and earnings. We reanalysed 1472 population-based studies, with measurement
of height on more than 18.6 million participants to estimate mean height
for people born between 1896 and 1996 in 200 countries. The largest gain in
adult height over the past century has occurred in South Korean women and
Iranian men, who became 20.2 cm (95% credible interval 17.5-22.7) and 16.5
cm (13.3-19.7) taller, respectively. In contrast, there was little change
in adult height in some sub-Saharan African countries and in South Asia
over the century of analysis. The tallest people over these 100 years are
men born in the Netherlands in the last quarter of 20th century, whose
average heights surpassed 182.5 cm, and the shortest were women born in
Guatemala in 1896 (140.3 cm; 135.8-144.8). The height differential between
the tallest and shortest populations was 19-20 cm a century ago, and has
remained the same for women and increased for men a century later despite
substantial changes in the ranking of countries.


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