HEIGHT RESTRICTION: Poor diet grows short children
November 25, 2020 • 1 min read
-- School-age children 20cm shorter due to poor diet
Finish your greens, kids – it just might add 20cm to your height.
Researchers have discovered that poor diets may be responsible for an average height gap of 20cm between school-age children from the tallest and shortest nations.
The findings, published in The Lancet, examine data on more than 65 million children and adolescents collected from 2,000 studies between 1985 and 2019.
Researchers say tracking changes in the height and weight of children across the world and over time indicates quality of nutrition and living environments.
Analysis showed that in 2019 the tallest 19-year-old boys lived in the Netherlands (183.8cm or 6ft) and the shortest lived in Timor Leste (160.1cm or 5ft 3in).
Meanwhile the UK’s global height ranking fell, with 19-year-old boys being 39th tallest in 2019 (1.78m or 5ft 10in) from 28th tallest in 1985.
The shortest 19-year-olds lived in South and South-East Asia, Latin America, and East Africa.
While analysis did not directly compare the quality of nutrition between countries, the relatively greater poverty in countries with shorter school children runs parallel to poor rankings in food access and nutrition.
Consider China and South Korea, countries that recorded huge improvements in the average height of children over the last 35 years – a period that witnessed increased foreign trade and investment, rapid economic expansion, and a massive uptick in relative prosperity.
Then compare the size differences between North and South Korea over the last 70 years. What was a relatively homogenous people has diverged, as two generations of Kim Jong plunged North Korea into poverty and near starvation.
Short people must stand together – though best not with tall people.