Americans Are Getting Shorter, While Europeans Get Taller — Nutrition

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.

AlterNet: Health & Wellness: Are You One of the Shrinking Americans?

“The bigger the burger, the better the burger.”  Oh, Super-size those fries, will ya? 


Author: Bill

Stumbling down the Middle Path, one day at a time.

3 thoughts on “Americans Are Getting Shorter, While Europeans Get Taller — Nutrition”

  1. I’m a tall, white male from the USA at 6’6 and I feel about as out of place sometimes as a frog in a frying pan.

    Them would be some hellacious frog legs!

    At 6’3″ I totally relate.

  2. Another point of view:
    I enjoyed reading Matt Crenson’s article (linked below), his writing style is crisp and flows well.

    However, both he and Eileen Crimmins, his cited expert demographer, completely miss the reason why American males “lag” behind several European nations in average height growth following WWII:

    The post-WWII immigrant influx into the US, to the tune of 50 million-plus. And as a result, the US population has doubled in size since 1950—-US Population 1950: 150,700,000 – 2007: 302,000,000 (Source: US Census Bureau)—-while population in the northern European nations, the Netherlands, Sweden, etc. has actually declined. Also, as there is no category for Hispanics in the quoted study, they are pooled with whites, and of the 30,000,000 legal immigrants from Mexico since 1950, their average height is 3-to-5 inches less than Americans of European heritage (Source: US Census Bureau). Crenson and Crimmins both overlook millions more of post-1950 American immigrants from Far-Eastern nations pooled with white Americans for which the European nations have no parallel, as well. Perhaps what is most troubling about Crenson’s article is that he draws conclusions about average height increases post WWII from an economist’s chart comparing average heights from the 1800s to now, rather than from 1945 to now. Noting that census statistics taken in the early 1800s were both narrow in scope and of suspect accuracy. Typically, only well-educated property holders participated or “counted” in these polls, thus telling us little about the overall population, while noting that those taking the poll usually guessed their own height and weight.

    Is it valid to compare population trends in the US with those in Norway, Sweden, or other small European nations? After all, just how many people live in these nations? In Norway: 4 million, in Sweden: 8 1/2 million, about the same as one large US city. Therefore, rather than suggesting that citizens of these small countries are growing taller faster than Americans are, the small sample size represented by these nations along with the population losses within their respective small social units suggests that they have increasingly segregated themselves from the rest of the world. This in turn, suggests that growth rates in these small European nations are more dependent on what Darwin called natural selection than nutrition or standards of living. In light of this, it is foolish, perhaps even silly to compare these tiny European countries’ population trends to US population trends. Noting the US population in (rounded figures): 1800: 5,300,000 — 1850: 23,100,000 — 1900: 76,000,000 — 1950: 150,700,000 — 2007: 302,000,000 (Source: US Census Bureau).

    As Crenson would likely receive a C for his article in a high school current events/interest class, his poor research and analysis, coupled with his lively writing style suggests that he pursue a career inking schlock for the National Enquirer, not the Associated Press.

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