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If You Want To Raise Tall Kids, You’re Doing It In The Wrong Country


It’s hard to believe how fast your kids grow, that’s why plenty of parents willingly ruin their walls with permanent notches just to confirm it. Not to be outdone by breeders everywhere, the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), a global network of health scientists really into data, basically did that with the world. More specifically, they looked at 1,472 population based studies and height data on more that 18.6 million people between 1896 and 1996 in 200 countries. Clearly some of these guys don’t have kids if they have time to do that.

Dutch men ranked the tallest overall with the average height of 182.5cm, but it was probably the wooden boots adding a little lift. Latvia had the tallest women at 169.8cm, but South Korean women showed the most growth — an increase of 20.2cm since 1914. The shortest men were from Timor-Leste (where?) at 159.8cm and women were the smallest in Guatemala at 149.4cm, but if they teamed up and got a trench coat they might be able to take on a Dutchman.

Unlike your kid, it seems the U.S. has stopped growing, along with the UK and Japan whose heights have also declined in the last 30 to 40 years. American men were the third tallest in the world in 1896, but are now slotted at 37 with the average height of 177.1cm, and women have shrunk from fourth place to forty-second at 163.5cm. At least they softened the blow with a bunch of interactive charts.

James Bentham, one of the researchers explained to The Guardian that most populations should “grow to roughly similar heights if they were all in the same conditions.” So if you wanted your kid to have the (European) basketball career you never had, you should have married a Dutch woman.

[H/T] Science Alert