Monday, 28 May 2007

Why are Americans short?

(αναδημοσιευση απο: foreign policy review passport).

The answer could be poor health care and a weak welfare system.

The correlation between wealth and height has long been established in health circles, so researchers at Princeton University and the University of Munich set out to reveal why Americans—citizens of the richest country in the world and among the tallest in the world until the Second World War—have been getting shorter while Europeans have been growing taller. Backed by demographic and health data collected between 1959 and 2002, John Komlos, co-author of the study, explained:

"We surmise that the health systems and high degree of social security in Europe provide better conditions for growth than the American health system, despite the fact that the system costs twice as much".

He added, "There are also indications that American diets are deficient in several areas." Americans are now between two and six centimeters shorter than their European counterparts; the average Dutchman is six centimeters taller than the average American. In the mid-19th century, this figure was exactly the opposite.

So is the link between wealth and health broken? Not necessarily, you may be thinking. Another hypothesis is that immigration from Latin America and Asia has pushed down the average height in the United States. The study is not freely available online, but according to the abstract, the research team looked only at "trends for the physical stature of the non-Hispanic white and black U.S. adult population," and "regression analysis is used to estimate the trend in U.S. heights stratified by gender and ethnicity, holding income and educational attainment constant." In plain English, that means that the researchers did take immigration into account.

σχετικες πηγες:

1. Europeans taller on average.


2. Underperfomance in Affluence: The remarkable relative decline in U.S heights in the second half of the 20th century

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