America used to be the country with the tallest population. That’s right, used to be. All of the teasing that Americans have done to Asians over the years and bragging about our basketball skills is no longer appropriate. In fact, it hasn’t been accurate for years. Since Wold War II, Americans have ceased to grow taller as the rest of the world continues, with western Europeans eventually passing us up in average statistics as far back as the 1960’s. Now, even prosperous Asian countries are about the same height as Americans. At the same time, Holland, the current reigning tallest country in the world notes that their average man is 6 feet tall, two inches taller than the average American man. This is almost the exact opposite statistic as in 1850 when Dutch men measured 2 ½ inches shorter than American men.

Aside from the unexplainable ego boost that taller people get, the fact that Americans are being passed up in the world is a sign of more serious issues. Tall people are said to be healthier, wealthier, live longer, and may even be more intelligent than shorter people. This is because those behaviors that make a person tall also make people healthier. Genes can contribute 40 to 70 percent of a person’s height. This means that most countries have the opportunity to be at equal heights. One’s environment is said to affect a person’s height by up to five inches. If the environment is at fault for inhibiting the average American’s height, it means that the country has a problem.

This news is especially alarming for a country’s youth. Their well being is crucial for a society’s continuation. A wealthy country can increase the chances of having a tall and healthy population, but it is not a guarantee. By age 2, there is a 70 percent correlation between one’s height and their projected adult height. Also, 9 million children in the U.S. have no health insurance which may be another factor in the lack of height gain.

The new height statistics can also be supported by the life expectancy averages of a country. The life expectancy in the Netherlands is 79.11 years. Sweden’s is 80.63 years. America’s is 78.00 years. Despite this, it appears that height averages differ in different parts of the country. Rural areas are said to have taller residents than those who live in urban areas, especially large cities. Rural inhabitants are said to be just as tall as the European average. However, the average heights in cities like New York are about 1.75 inches shorter which drags down the country’s average height. So in the end, it may not be the problem of correcting the well being of the entire country as much as it is correcting the well being of urbanites.

For related articles visit http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,289362,00.html and http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/taller.htm.

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