people getting taller

Are people still getting taller? I mean people in nations that have already had a generation or two growing up under modern nutrition and access. I know we are getting wider, but the youth I just taught last semester seemed to all tower over me.

I don’t know if average height is going up or not but I see a lot more females growing into the range of 5’10’’ to 6’1’’.

Good nutrition in infancy and thruout childhood and adolescence is one of the cornerstones of helping a person reach their genetic height potential. That’s why we’re starting to see NBA stars coming out of China.

However, excess nutrition could result in many folks being as wide as they are tall! :wink:

I kinda said all that. :wink: I’m asking if we know what that potential is and if we have reached it?

I think you’ll see the world average for height continue to increase for a while, as long as overall nutrition gets better. If we collapse into prolonged famine, it’ll reverse.

As for what the ultimate potential is, I’m not sure. Eventually physics enters the equation, and greater height becomes a liability. Gravity is a harsh mistress on those weight-bearing joints.

If the population as a whole starts finding taller and taller folks to be more desireable sex partners, we’ll find out all that much sooner just what the upper limit is.

Yes, I know this is sort of a fact-free post, but it’s my day off, so I’m not as factually-based as usual. :wink:

Researchers recently concluded that the median height of the American population is actually decreasing. Suspected culprit: junk food.

Interesting link, Carnac. Thanks!

That is exactly what seems to be happening if internet personal ads are any indication. Women in the US, in general, seem to prefer taller men. Maybe this actually is a factor along with better nutrition.

I believe the Dutch are currently the tallset people in the world with an average male height of 6’1’’, I think they are seeing rises in obesity levels as well.

I do have to wonder about this. There’s clearly a sexual selection issue at play here - many women seem to prefer taller men, which would seem to promote continued growth upwards. Even if it’s only a slight preference, it seem reasonable to me to think that kids are going to get taller even aside from the tendency for adequate nutrition to promote height.

By generic evolution standards any trait that provides benefits will grow and propser. So aside from the fact that taller people (at least taller men, taller women are less desirable) are more sexually desirable taller people make more money. So this adds to the genetic component as both men and women prefer a partner who is financially secure, although the benefit may be minor (a few thousand dollars a year). This is pretty well researched too.

Tall people earn considerably more money throughout their lives than their shorter co-workers, with each inch adding about $789 a year in pay, according to a new study.

Its gotten so bad that in China people are using dangerous gimmicks to get taller the same way we use dangerous gimmicks to lose weight here in the US.
I didn’t really see anything in that Guardian link showing US citizens are getting shorter. Between 1960 and 2003 men gained 1.5" and women gained 1"

Let’s try this again. From my link above:
Researchers have made a startling discovery: Americans are shrinking. A nation once famed for its strapping, well-nourished youth is gradually diminishing in physical stature.

By contrast, the heights of men and women from Europe are increasing inexorably. The average Dutchman, whose country produces the Continent’s loftiest men, is now more than six feet tall - almost two inches above his American counterpart. And he is still growing. Across the Netherlands hotel owners are lengthening beds and raising door mantles to stop the nation’s tall youth suffering from irreparable anatomical damage.

New research has shown some unexpected disparities between statures of Americans and Europeans, indicating that recent social changes and diet are major influences on adult height.

From my link:

“Many Americans are rich and do well anatomically as a result, but there is a large underclass that is starting to drag the country down the stature charts.”

Wesley Clark, you’re making the assumption that wealthier people will have more children. I’d wouldn’t be surprised if the reverse isn’t the case, that wealthier people choose to have smaller families.

The article is interesting, but rather dismissive that some of the change could be due to immigration. If they want to be taken seriously about their claim that immigration isn’t responsible for the changes, their claims need some hard numbers. How many millions of immigrants from “shorter” countries did the US take in during the 18th century? How many does it take in now? What percentage of immigrants make up the total population of both eras they’re comparing? They don’t answer any of those questions. “We don’t think so because people were still tall on average way back when and there were immigrants then too” isn’t a very convincing argument.

Still, I didn’t really see anything showing we as a nation are shrinking. We just aren’t growing as fast as the Scandinavians or the British.