Height is might. However, if children do not get the right nutrition, then it could also lead to stunted growth. Recent research showed that there is a height gap of 20 cm or 7.9 inches in school-aged children between the shortest and the tallest nations.
A study titled "Height and body-mass index trajectories of school-aged children and adolescents from 1985 to 2019 in 200 countries and territories" which appeared in The Lancet showed the differences in height of children among different countries. The researchers noted that nutritious foods can help children grow taller without gaining extra weight.
The researchers analysed data of more than 65 million children between the age of five and 19, from more than 2,000 studies covering the period between 1985 and 2019. On average, those living in the Netherlands and Montenegro were the tallest. In terms of region, the tallest ones were in central and northwestern Europe.
The researchers found that in 2019, the tallest 19-year-old males reached 183.8 cm or six feet, and they could be found in the Netherlands while the shortest were at 160.1 cm or 5 ft 3 inches in Timor Leste. The UK's global ranking fell to 39th in 2019 but in 1985, it bagged the 28th spot.
Those who were the shortest teens were found to live in South and Southeast Asia, as well as in East Africa and Latin America. For girls, the tallest were also in the Netherlands at 170.4 cm and the shortest at 150.9 cm.
Based on the analysis, the average height of 19-year-old boys in Laos, which was at 162.8 cm or 5 ft 4 in, was the average height of 13-year-old boys in the Netherlands.
For girls, the average height of 11-year-old Dutch girls at 152 cm or 5 ft was the average height of 19-year-old girls in Timor Leste, Bangladesh, Nepal and Guatemala.
In the UK, 19-year-old boys were 178.2 cm or 5 ft 10 inches on average, while girls were at 163.9 cm or 5 ft 5 inches.
Dr Andrea Rodriguez Martinez, lead researcher from Imperial College London said that their findings must motivate policies that will increase the availability of nutritious foods for children. A reduction in prices of high-quality foods was also underscored by Martinez so as to afford children better access to good nutrition.