According to a new study,
white and black Americans have been shrinking dramatically relative to
their European counterparts since the end of World War II.
say a population’s average height is a “mirror” reflecting the
socioeconomic health of a society and speculate that Americans’ worship
of “market-based” social policies may explain why we’re now looking up
to the Germans and Swedes.
It’s a dramatic reversal. We had
always been giants, with the tallest men in the world, going back as
far as the data exists (at least to the mid-19th century). During the
First World War, American GIs still towered over the Europeans they
liberated. But for three decades beginning at the end of World War II,
Americans’ average height stagnated while Europeans continued the
growth-spurt that one would expect to see during a period of relative
peace and rising incomes.
Now, with an average height of 5’10”,
American men are now significantly shorter than men from countries like
Denmark (6-footers) or the Netherlands (6′ 1″). In fact, Americans —
men and women — are now shorter, on average, than the citizens of every single country in Western and Northern Europe.
our vertical challenge is continuing to grow; American whites born
between 1975-1983 started growing again, but still not as quickly as
Western Europeans born in the same period. Meanwhile, the average
height of American blacks in that age group remained unchanged.
“The bigger the burger, the better the burger.” Oh, Super-size those fries, will ya?