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Saturday, September 16, 2006

The World's Tallest People

In the last 150 years, the Dutch have become the tallest people on Earth — and experts say they're still getting bigger. It is a tale of a nation's health and wealth.
Prosperity propelled the collective growth spurt that began in the mid-1800s and was only interrupted during the harsh years of the Nazi occupation in the 1940s — when average heights actually declined.
With their protein-rich diet and a national health service that pampers infants, the Dutch are standing taller than ever. The average Dutchman stands just over 6 feet, while women average nearly 5-foot-7.
The Dutch were not noted for their height until recently. It was only in the 1950s that they passed the Americans, who stood tallest for most of the last 200 years, said John Komlos, a leading expert on the subject who is professor of economic history at the University of Munich in Germany. He said the United States has now fallen behind Denmark.


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