The only way is up: Men's average height 'up 11cm since 1870s'
Men have grown at the rate of approximately a millimetre a year and a centimetre a decade
Is this proof that austerity really does lead to growth - of one kind at least?
The average height of European men has grown by 11cms since the latter part of the 19th Century, according to research carried out at the University of Essex.
According to the findings, which were published in the Oxford Economics Papers journal and analysed data from the early 1870s to 1980, men have grown at the rate of approximately a millimetre a year and a centimetre a decade, despite the period in question spanning two World Wars and the Depression of the 1930s.
Timothy Hatton, the economics professor who led the study, said: "Increases in human stature are a key indicator of improvements in the average health of populations."
The study, which shows the average height of a European male growing from 167 cm to 178 cm in a little over a 100 years – suggests an environment of improving health and decreasing disease "is the single most important factor driving the increase in height", said Hatton.
The results appear initially surprising given the tough conditions experienced in the early 19th Century by the 15 Western European countries sampled for the survey.
Though poverty, food rationing and the hardship of war might have been expected to limit growth, researchers said there was in fact a “distinct quickening” in the rate of men’s growth during the period.
The conditions of increased austerity, led to families having fewer children in the period, which in turn was found to be linked to an increase in average height.
The study, which said there was too little historical data to analyse height fluctuation in women, concentrated its study on men of an average age of 21, and sourced its date from military records and modern population surveys from 15 countries including Britain and Ireland, the Scandinavian countries, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
Researchers said: “[the results are] striking the period largely predates the wide implementation of major breakthroughs in modern medicine and national health services.”
One possible reason posited for surge in height, aside from the decline in infant mortality, was the strong downward trend in fertility at the time. Smaller family sizes, the researchers said, have previously been found to be linked to increasing height.
Additional reporting by Reuters
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...