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FutureStarrAverage height for a man
The average height for a man is 5 foot 10 inches. This is a median figure, though. In practice, some men are significantly taller or shorter than 5 foot 10 inches. For example, the average height for a man in England is 6 foot 3 inches.The main reasons for regional differences in body size are heredity and nutritional standards. A protein-rich food is important, and this is noticeable over generations. Although protein is considered an essential component here, a weakening of the body due to diseases and allergies also has an inhibiting effect on growth. Diseases occur more frequently as a result of weaknesses in the immune system and therefore consume the energy that the body could put into its growth. Good health is primarily due to a good diet, but in the second instance also to a good health system with adequate medical care. As a result, the average body size is remarkably low, especially in poor countries of the third world. The average height in a certain region can say a lot about the quality of life in that place. For example, a poor diet and sickness during childhood can prevent you from growing as tall as you might have otherwise. So, when researchers keep tabs on height from country to country, they can use the data to help learn about a country’s health and well-being.
The chart shows the absolute change in the mean height of adult women for each country. As reflected in the regional trends above, the largest increases were typically in –but not limited to – Europe and Central Asia. The largest absolute change was seen for South Korean women, whose mean height increased by 20 cm. Compare this to Madagascar, which had the smallest gain of only 1.5 cm.At the global level, the relative increase in mean height was the same for men and women: around five percent. But as we see, there is significant variation across countries. This chart shows the percentage change for men on the y-axis, and for women on the x-axis. The grey line here represents parity: where the change was the same for both sexes. Countries which lie above the grey line saw greater height increase for men than for women; for countries below the line, the opposite is true. Despite a relatively consistent ratio at the global level, some countries have seen significant changes. A century ago, South Korean males were on average 18 cm taller than their female counterparts; this difference has fallen to 13 cm, meaning that South Korean women have seen larger absolute gains in height than South Korean men. By contrast, in the Philippines this difference has doubled from 7 cm to 14 cm, meaning that average height of Filipino men has increased faster than that of Filipino women.
The expected average height of a healthy population should be 163 cm for women and 176.5 cm for men – as defined by the WHO growth reference standards. Interestingly, the global average height is 159.5 cm for women, and 171 cm for men – it’s lower than we’d expect. This disparity between the actual and expected global average height may be due to the fact that historically, and still today, a large share of children are stunted. In 1990, around 40% were stunted. It has fallen since then to around 22% in 2017, but with large variations across the world. Here we can pull out several key points. Firstly, we see that changes in height across the world are gradual: average heights do not suddenly jump one year to the next, but instead tend to change at rates of less than 1% per year. Secondly, we see that across all regions, average human heights have experienced significant growth over the past century. But the trends also suggest that growth in average male heights have stagnated in Europe and Central Asia, while reversing in the Middle East and North Africa, East Asia and Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The story is largely the same for women, but with the addition that average female heights in North America have stagnated as well. They found similar results: that the 150 year increase in average heights in the Netherlands had came to an end in recent decades. They concluded that the reason for this is not entirely clear. They suggest that the Dutch may have reached the maximum mean height possible for the population. But they also hypothesized that recent lifestyle changes – not a genetic upper bound – may be hindering further increases in the average heights of men and women. For example, “easy access to fast food nowadays … may lead to inadequate nutrient intake, which may result in lower height”. Furthermore, “less energy expenditure due to a sedentary lifestyle leads to an increase in overweight and obesity … which, in turn, are related to lower height”. (Source: ourworldindata.org)