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The Dutch: Worlds Tallest Lineage is Shrinking, Studies Revealed Why

For the record, the Netherlands has long been holding the world’s tallest race in height, but the generation of Dutch people born in 2001 is shorter than the one born in 1980, a study by the country’s statistics office revealed.


A new study reveals why Dutch are shrinking. (Photo: Getty images)

According to Statistics Netherlands (or CBS), a government agency that collects national statistics, Dutch males born in 2001 are 0.39 inches (1 centimeter) shorter than those born in 1980. Dutch women are 0.55 inches (1.4 cm) shorter than their male counterparts.

Despite these declines, the Netherlands continues to have the world’s tallest population, with today’s generation standing an average of 6 feet (182.9 centimeters) for males and 5.55 feet (169.3 centimeters) for women, according to CBS.

The government statisticians determined in their analysis that the Dutch got taller and taller during the period of the twentieth century. However, since 1980, the growth rates have declined.

The Probable Cause of Height Decrease

According to studies, the explanation for the height decline is partly due to greater immigration from shorter population origin. Yet, individuals whose parents were both born in the Netherlands, as well as those whose all grandparents were all born in the Netherlands, experienced slower growth.

Many possibilities are still theoretical according to Gert Stulp of the University of Groningen’s Faculty of behavioral and social sciences.

He claimed that perhaps, events such as the [2007] financial crisis caused some children to grow in less privileged circumstances than previous generations. He also added that it may be due to the increase of inequality: it can be deduced that inequality has an impact on average height; poorer childhood environments lead to less vertical growth.

In terms of diet, Stulp drew comparisons with current patterns in the US, where height has stagnated while weight has risen in recent years. According to National Health Statistics Reports, average heights among American men and women in 2015-2016 were 69.1 inches (5.77 feet) for males and 63.7 inches (5.3 feet) for women, both somewhat lower than in 1999-2000.

He concluded that as diets may have changed, nutrients important to growth were made unavailable. This is said to be the cause of America’s dwindling population: inferior diets, more calories, but fewer nutrients.

The Dutch are still the world’s tallest population, according to researchers.

In recent years, studies have suggested that taller people are having more children and passing on their tall genes caused of the Dutch being tall.

Notably, past research has suggested that shifting towards plant-based diets and the stabilization of “growth-promoting environmental variables” may be behind this year’s discovery.