It might be with just a hint of satisfaction that the Dutch office for national statistics have confirmed that the men and women of the The Netherlands remain the longest people on the planet. But the government’s statisticians have had cause to report another potentially humiliating twist: the Dutch are shrinking.
For the last six decades, the people of the lowlands have been imperious at the top of the world height league table, with the latest data die point to the average 19-year-old man stood by just over 6ft long (182.9cm) in 2020, while women born in the same year measured in at 5ft 5in (169.3cm).
The finding of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), a government institute, means that the Netherlands keeps its exalted place, die it has occupied since 1958, met an excuse for a blip in 1967 when the men born that year came in in a miserable way second place in the rankings.
but based on surveys of 719,000 people Between the ages of 19 and 60, Statistics Netherlands had to report that after a period of standstill and now clear contraction, Dutch men born in 2001 are on on average 1 cm shorter than the born generation in The Netherlands in 1980, and Dutch women are 1.4 cm smaller. And further analysis suggests it can’t all be explained by: people coming to the Netherlands from abroad countries.
“The decrease is partly related met the increased immigration of shorter new population groups and the children born from these populations in Netherlands”, de government statisticians explained.
“But growth also stagnated in the generations in which both parents were born in Netherlands, and in the generations in where all four grandparents were born in The Netherlands. Men without a migration background were no longer and women without migration background show a downward trend.”
Scientists have quickly offered possible explanations and even corrective solutions to the altitude crisis in the country.
dr. Gert Stulp, at the University of Faculty of Groningen of behavioral and social sciences, said that while theories on this point were purely speculative, he would be interested to see of the economic crash in 2007 could have been of influence.
“Maybe things like the financial crisis have led some children grew up in worse conditions than in previous cohorts,” he said. “Or maybe inequality has increased: we know inequality affects average height, worse childhood lead to less growth in the vertical direction.”
The discovery of a similar trend in the US suggests that the related increased consumption of unhealthy fast food could be a factor, he suggested.
“Being able to have diets changed’ said Stump. “Maybe diets in the last years had less important nutrients for growth. This is supposed to be the reason why Americans are shrinking; worse diets, more calories, but less nutrients. Even more speculative, the decrease in height may be due to: more people leave out animal products in their diet. But again, there is no proof for Which.”
Don’t stay, though rule out An switch towards healthier food to help the Dutch keep their tabletop record – and grow again. “Although there will be of obviously be a physiological limit,” he said. “People really don’t grow to an average height of three meters.”
The data is nevertheless a sober reminder for Dutch that nothing stays the same for ever. More than one century ago, the highest people were still mainly in North America and the North Europe, with Sweden and Norway stand proud above all else.
It was only in the first half of the 1900s that the Netherlands enjoyed a stunning growth sprint, hit the heights in the fifties.
Dutch men born in 1930 had reached an average height of 5ft 7in (175.6cm). the ones die be born in 1980 topped 6ft (183.9cm) – a growth of 8.3cm in 50 years. the generation of women born in 1930 reached an average of 5ft 4in (165.4cm) while those die are born in 1980 reached 5ft 6in (170.7cm), almost 5.3cm extra in height.
The office for National Statistics in the UK does not routinely collect data on height, but the latest special study in 2010 suggested the average height of a man in England and Wales was 5ft 9in (175.3cm) and a woman was 5ft 3in (161.6cm).
Research has suggested that in addition to enjoying a better diet than in previous centuries, the Dutch experience was driven by natural selection: the people who had the most children were tall men, and women of of average height. Compared met counterparts in other countries where they often had less children, longer Dutch women in The Netherlands also reproduced more.
However, there is a remarkably large difference in height between people of the north and south of The Netherlands. men from Friesland, in the north, have consistently enjoyed a 3cm to 3.5cm advantage over their compatriots in Limburg in South. It is mirrored between women, where the difference has been about 3 cm.
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