A large global study that examined how the body length has changed in the world during the last century, has come to the conclusion that the Netherlands has the world's tallest men and Latvia the tallest women.
The study, published online in the scientific journal Elife has used 1,472 population-based studies with nearly 19 million participants to estimate the average length of the body for people born between 1896 and 1996 in 200 different countries.
The tallest populations a century ago lived in Central and Northern Europe, North America and some Pacific islands. The height of men born in Sweden, Norway and the USA surpassed 171 cm, ~18–19 cm taller than men in Laos. Swedish women, with average adult height of 160.3 cm (158.2–162.4), were the tallest a century ago and 20 cm taller than women in Guatemala. Women were also taller than 158 cm in Norway, Iceland, the USA and American Samoa.
Europeans are now the tallest in the world. On the top 10 list of the tallest people in the world, only Europeans are represented, both for men and women in the study.
USA, which was one of the tallest nations a century ago, has now fallen behind its European counterparts after having had the smallest gain in height of any high-income country, the study shows.
The Dutch can with good justifiably be called the world's tallest people, where the men have an average height of 182.5 centimeters, and the Dutch women are the second tallest, after the Latvian women, who have an average height of 170 centimeters.
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