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Why Are Dutch People So Tall?

The average man in the Netherlands is just over six feet tall (1.84 meters), and the average woman is 5’ 7” (1.71 meters). Although there is plenty of variation, that average makes the Dutch the tallest people in the world. Of course, some country has to be the tallest, but the weird thing is that just 200 years ago, the people of the Netherlands were among the shortest in the world. What happened since then? Does it have anything to do with living below sea level? Is it the cycling? Or is it the rich diet of a relatively wealthy nation?

Other European countries, too, have enjoyed similar prosperity and a rise in living standards, yet their citizens have not shot skywards as much. The average male height in the Netherlands has gained 20 cm (eight inches) in the last 150 years, according to military records. By comparison, the height of the average American man has risen a mere six centimetres over the same period.

A study of 94,500 people who lived in the Netherlands during the 20th century yielded some interesting data that points to natural selection ...and math. Read what they found at The Guardian. -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: Flickr user Marc van Woudenberg)

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