According to the latest news, men in Europe are on average 11 cm higher than the men who lived during the 1870s. This indicates an improvement of health in the region. It is interesting to know that the “growth spur” started between World War I and the Great Depression, a period that has been characterized by food rationing, poverty, and hardship.
One of the main causes of the changes is the fact that people choose to have fewer children these days and the specialists have found that smaller family sizes contribute to the increase of average height. The specialists also add that the increase of height also indicates an improvement of average health.
It has been found that during the 1870s the general
height of a man has been of 167 cm and in only 100 years this increased to 178 cm. All this means that the general environment has improved and fewer men are affected by illnesses.
This study has taken into consideration the height of men at the age of 21 in 15 different European countries. The researchers say that they were interested in the height of men because it is difficult to find historical data on the height of women.
Gathering the data
In the past few years, data was collected regarding the height of men based on age groups. The researchers found historical data on the height of men in the past from military conscripts. On an average, the height of European men has increased by 11 cm, but the findings differ from one country to the other.
In Spain the general height increased by 12 cm from 163 cm in 1870 to 175 in 1970. In the same time the change in Sweden has been of 10 cm from 170 cm to 180 cm. The researchers also found that the greatest change in Ireland, Britain, the Netherlands, Scandinavian countries, Belgium, Austria, and Germany took place starting with World War I.
It is quite surprising that men’s height has increased in times of poverty, even before the breakthroughs of medicine and the implementation of national health services. One of the explanations might be that in that period the families started becoming smaller and smaller. Other possible factors contributing to this increase in height are increase in per capita income, improvements in loving conditions, better education about health and nutrition, and better healthcare facilities.