Up there: Netherlands, Latvia lead world for people’s height

Associated Press
Published: 7/25/2016 11:19:13 PM

If you want to see a tall population of men, go to the Netherlands. Tall women? Latvia.

And in the United States, which lags behind dozens of other countries in height, the average for adults stopped increasing about 20 years ago.

That’s the word from researchers who analyzed a century’s worth of height data from 200 countries. Results were released Monday in the journal eLife.

The researchers calculated average height for 18-year-olds, roughly the age when people stop growing. They drew on more than 1,400 studies that covered more than 18.6 million adults who reached that age between 1914 and 2014.

Experts said the results generally agree with what others have reported before.

The tallest men in the new analysis were Dutch, with an average height of about 6 feet. The next nine tallest countries in order for men were Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Iceland and the Czech Republic.

Latvia topped the list for women, with an average height of 5-foot-6. Rounding out the top 10 were the Netherlands, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovakia, Denmark, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.

Over the century-long span of the study, the biggest gains appeared in South Korean women and Iranian men, who added 8 inches and 6½ inches, respectively. There was little change in South Asia and some sub-Saharan African countries.

In the U.S., men gained about 2½ inches over the century, with about 2 inches for women. The nation is now the 37th tallest for men and 42nd for women, researchers said.

The analysis estimated that average height for U.S. 18-year-olds maxed out at about 5-foot-10 for men in 1996, and at about 5-foot-5 for women in 1988.

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