A recent study carried out on people born between 1896 and 1996 in around 200 countries has revealed that men born in the Netherlands are the tallest in the world. And, when it comes to the tallest women, Latvian ladies take top spot.
According to the study, A century of trends in adult human height, published in the journal eLife, the average Dutchman is nearly 183cm (6ft) tall, while the height of average Latvian woman is 170cm (5ft 7in). The study showed that the difference between the shortest and tallest countries was about 20cm for both men and women. And, this finding implies that there are large differences between countries in terms of nutrition and the risk of developing some diseases.
"This study gives us a picture of the health of nations over the past century, and reveals the average height of some nations may even be shrinking while others continue to grow taller. This confirms we urgently need to address children and adolescents' environment and nutrition on a global scale, and ensure we're giving the world's children the best possible start in life," Lead researcher ProfessorMajid Ezzati, from Imperial College London, said.
The research mentioned the difference in height was partly because of genetics; however, other factors such as healthcare, sanitation, and nutrition also affect height. It also explained that taller people were less vulnerable to heart disease and stroke resulting into higher life expectancy but were likely to develop some cancers.
The evolution of height over the century also varies from country to country, the research said. Iranian men born in 1996 were around 17 cm taller than those born hundred years ago. Similarly, people from South Asia and parts of Africa, are slightly taller than they were in 1896, while in some countries people are shorter than they were 50 years ago.
In the United Kingdom, the height of men and women has increased by around 11cm over the past century. British men are 31st on the list.
Women born in Guatemala in 1996 are the shortest with an average height of 149.4 cm. The smallest men on the planet are from East Timor (160cm).