Height: the Italians outnumber the Americans. A study reveals how stature is going in the world

Three years of work and data collected from all over the world. We go up and the US goes down

The Italians have surpassed the Americans in stature, this is the unexpected figure that emerges from a large study carried out by the English Imperial College in collaboration with the WHO. 800 collaborators around the globe have reviewed nearly 1,500 publications, and in three years have collected data – which span a span of a century – to compare the stature of eighteen-year-olds from 200 countries since 1914.

If in Italy we continue to get up we have merits, the demerit instead goes entirely to Americans who have stopped doing so. Humanity does not proceed in the same way towards the increase in height: there are countries that gain centimeters, others that stop and even retreat. "Every population has genetic potential, but to develop it, boys and girls must have access to good care and good nutrition," says Mariachiara Di Cesare of Middlesex University in London. "The trend in Italy has always been positive, with a small drop in the post-war period," continues Di Cesare.

The Italians went from 55 ° to 32 ° in the world ranking, gaining 11 centimeters. Today the average height is 1 meter and 65. It also went well for Italian males, who went from 57th to 29th place, gaining 13 centimeters and an average height of 1 meter and 78.

Height is a complex trait – says the Italian scholar – governed by dozens of loci in the genome, and has variations on an ethnic basis. But it is also strongly influenced by living conditions, in particular by how we eat as children and adolescents. "Two thirds of the stature is determined by environmental factors and only one third by the genes."

For example, the US that has slipped from third and fourth place, respectively for men and women, to numbers 37 and 42, cannot adduce facts such as immigration, which leads to genetically lower individuals, as the reason for this.

But let's return to the height of women in the world: it is certainly worth mentioning the females of Latvia, which are the most stangone in the world (1.70 on average), closely followed by the Netherlands and Estonia. The lowest on the globe? In Guatemala. One wonders, what will Latvians eat and what environmental conditions will they have? Perhaps a study would be desirable to explain how to live and what to eat to grow tall. Who knows maybe one day in a hundred years!

Resuming the study on the stature of humanity, it emerged that the women who grew the most over the century are in South Korea (plus 20 cm). But further studies would be needed to clarify how the different conditions of the female population in the various geographical areas affect all these numbers.
For males, the ones who climbed most positions are the Iranians (plus 16.5 centimeters). The tallest? The Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia, the lowest in East Timor.

What will happen in the future? "If people continued to mix and well-being spread on a planetary scale, in the end we would be equally high in all countries," says Di Cesare, one of the authors of the study.
But all this is not entirely programmable, just think that in 1950 the Associated Press in one of its articles predicted that the Americans of 2000 would be the Amazons, "more than a meter and 82 meters tall, with 42 shoes, shoulders as a wrestler and truck driver muscles ”, but it didn't happen.

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