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Tallest Nations Study: Dutch, Latvians Ahead by Inches

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By    |   Wednesday, 27 Jul 2016 07:54 AM

A tallest nations study tracking the average height of men and women for 100 years puts Dutch men and Latvian women at the top of the measuring tape.

Researchers at the Imperial College London collected data from most of the countries around the world in establishing its tallest countries list, which was published in the journal eLife.

The average height of men from the Netherlands was 182.5 centimeters or nearly six feet tall, while women from Latvia averaged 170 centimeters, or nearly 5-foot-6 inches tall, according to the Imperial College study.

Men and women in the United States, once among the tallest in the world, have actually lost ground in the ranking. Study author James Bentham told The Associated Press that the average height of Americans appeared to have plateaued in 1996, when the average 18-year-old topped out at 5-foot-10 inches and the average height of women was 5-foot-5 inches.

The U.S. has tumbled in the height rankings from third tallest for men and fourth tallest for women in 1914 to 37th and 42nd places today, according to the study.

John Komlos, a visiting professor of economics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, told the AP there could be several reasons for the U.S. height stagnation, including lack of health insurance, shortfalls in medical and prenatal care, underweight and preterm babies from teenage pregnancies, and a rise in obesity, which leads to earlier puberty and stoppage of growth.

Men from East Timor were the shortest in the world, according to the study, averaging 5-foot-3 inches or 160 centimeters, while women from Guatemala were the shortest females, averaging nearly 4-foot-11 inches, or 149 centimeters.

The study revealed that Iranian men and South Korean women have grown the fastest over the past 100 years, noted the BBC News. Iranian men have increased their average height 16.5 centimeters, or 6.5 inches, to 5-foot-8 inches, or 173.6 centimeters over that time.

"Tall people tend to have a longer life expectancy, with a reduced risk of heart disease," said Jonathan Amos, BBC science correspondent. "On the other hand, there is some evidence that they are at greater risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal, postmenopausal breast and ovarian cancers."

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A tallest nations study tracking the average height of men and women for 100 years puts Dutch men and Latvian women at the top of the measuring tape.
tallest, nations, study, dutch, latvians
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2016-54-27
Wednesday, 27 Jul 2016 07:54 AM
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