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Despite growing taller, Indians way behind in world order: Study

India TV Lifestyle Desk New Delhi 14 Aug 2016, 11:57:03 AM IST
India TV Lifestyle Desk

A recent study has revealed that in the last 100 years between 1914 and 2014, the average height of Indian men increased by 3 cm to reach 165 cm (5 ft 5 inches) while women grew taller by 5 cm to become 153 cm (5 feet 1 inch).

According to a Times of India report, despite the considerable growth in height, the Indian men are still about 17.5 cm shorter than the world’s tallest males in the Netherlands, while Latvian women, the world’s tallest, are longer than Indian women by 17 cm. 

The study led by scientists from Imperial College, London and conducted by more than 800 researchers involved 1,470 earlier studies covering over 18.6 million participants in 200 countries. 

Over the past century, most countries have shown an increase in height, with Iranian men and South Korean women shooting up most by 16.5 cm and 20.2 cm respectively. 

However, America, who was placed third among men and fourth among women in 1914, has slipped to 37th and 47th position in 2014. 

According to the study, the top nations in the list mostly included European countries with no English-speaking nation. 

“Why have some nations shot up while others have not? Environmental factors are important in determining average heights of populations,” James Bentham of Imperial College was quoted by Times of India as saying. 

“Factors such as good nutrition, clean water supply, avoidance of childhood infections, and a mother's health during pregnancy affect how much these children grow. We believe that the relatively small gains in height in India are likely to be due to some or all of these factors,” he explained. 

Another study, conducted by senior paediatrician at Sitaram Bhartia Institute Harshpal Singh Sachdev, reveals that though the low height gains in India are a result of poor nutritional levels and high disease prevalence, children today are much taller than their parents were at the same age. 

“Our data shows that children aged between 5 and 13 years are on average 5.5cm to 7.5cm taller than their parents at the same age 30 years ago. Obviously, they are still in a growing phase and the difference will increase. These changes are comparable to or greater than those seen in developed countries at a similar stage of socio-economic development about 50 years ago,” said Sachdev.