Height is often viewed as a predetermined physical characteristic primarily influenced by genes. Yet, numerous studies have shown that multiple factors impact physical stature. Since the dawn of time, height disparities have existed between men and women. Many of those differences are due to geography.
According to World Data Info, the average height for women in the United States is 5.35 feet or 1.63 meters; for men, it’s 5.8 feet or 1.77 m. When compared to the average height for other countries, Americans tend to be a bit on the short side. Countries with the tallest people include the Netherlands, Ukraine, and Denmark. In the Netherlands, the average height for men is 1.84 m or 6.08 ft, and for women, it is 1.7 m or 5.5 ft. In Ukraine, 1.8 m or 5.9 ft for men and women, the average height is 1.66 m or 5.4 ft. The average measurements for men and women in Denmark are 1.82 m (6 ft) and 1.67 m (5.5 ft) respectively.
On the other hand, the average height for some countries with the shortest men and women is much lower. For example, in Timor-Leste, the average height for men is 1.59 m or 5.2 ft and 1.52 m or 4.9 ft for women. In India, the average height for women is 1.55 m or 5.0 ft, and for men is 1.66 m or 5.44 ft.
Two Primary Causes of Global Height Differences
A primary reason why there is so much variation in the average height of men and women worldwide is environmental. Living conditions are different all over the world. Height influencing factors that are prevalent in one geographical region are not the same in others and can have a significant or minimal impact on overall growth, development, and final height.
Children who grow up in impoverished areas, suffer from malnutrition, or have poor or less than ideal health are far more likely to experience fewer and smaller height increases than their taller counterparts who grow up in more optimal conditions. Consider the following influences on the average height of men and women around the world.
Nutrition - Childhood nutrition has a significant impact on height. According to a recent height study in the World Economic Forum, there is a 7.8 height inch deficiency amongst children living in 193 countries. This height gap is highest in countries where children are more likely to grow up malnourished due to low food quality, higher food costs, lack of access to adequate nutritional resources, etc. Prenatal nutrition also plays a factor in growth and height. Children born to parents who lack proper nutrition during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from growth and development restrictions due to nutritional deficiencies.
Low-income households tend to experience more food insecurity than higher-earning households, especially during the current pandemic. Poverty and childhood malnutrition rates are on the rise, which also means a decrease in average height. Places where there are food shortages and other issues affecting food quality and accessibility increase the risk of stunted growth and health challenges for children, thus leading to a higher percentage of short or shorter than average adults. A quality diet is essential to overcoming height deficiencies in children and increasing the average height of men and women.
Living conditions - Countries with different living conditions have different height averages for both men and women. People who live in areas with less-than-optimal environmental factors are more likely to experience stagnant growth patterns and height deficiencies. Many third-world and developing countries have poor health, financial, and economic resources to help counteract the suppressing effects of stress on overall health, growth, height, and well-being. As a result, overall height averages for both men and women are much lower than in more modernized areas with better economic conditions.
As important as nutrition and living environment are to achieving optimal height, they are not the only factors to consider when examining the average height of men and women worldwide. Genetics and if and when improvements in living conditions, nutrition, health, etc. occur, all play a role in final height.
Evolutionary height increases have occurred throughout history. Both men and women were initially much shorter than they are today. According to Wikipedia, within the last 150 years or so, average height has increased by 3.9 inches. Evolutionary changes and advancements in technology, society, nutrition, medicine, and living conditions all contribute to taller height averages for both men and women.
The Importance of Height in Today’s Society
Today, height is becoming a critical factor in many aspects of daily living. For example, height has been proven to affect personal and professional relationships, opportunities, and overall quality of life. Tall people are more likely to be considered for better paying, and upper-level career opportunities, experience greater success in their leisure and romantic endeavors, and are generally perceived as more influential and personable than individuals who lack height.
Living in the U.S. affords individuals with height insecurities the opportunity to overcome them with limb lengthening surgery. It’s a major medical procedure, that, unlike most overhyped height increase alternatives, has a high success rate. Height lengthening surgery requires a serious commitment of several months for patients to increase their height by up to 6 inches.
Get Taller With Height Lengthening
IIn order for men and women to achieve their height potential, optimal living, economic, nutrition, and health conditions must exist. To learn more about limb lengthening surgery or to discuss your height concerns with Dr. Mahboubian, D.O. MPH, call the Height Lengthening clinic at (818) 698-2719 to schedule a consultation.