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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Economics & Human Biology
Title Major correlates of male height: A study of 105 countries
Author(s)
Volume 21
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 172-195
URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570677X16300065
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to explore the main correlates of male height in 105 countries in Europe & overseas, Asia, North Africa and Oceania. Actual data on male height are compared with the average consumption of 28 protein sources (FAOSTAT, 1993–2009) and seven socioeconomic indicators (according to the World Bank, the CIA World Factbook and the United Nations). This comparison identified three fundamental types of diets based on rice, wheat and milk, respectively. The consumption of rice dominates in tropical Asia, where it is accompanied by very low total protein and energy intake, and one of the shortest statures in the world (∼162–168 cm). Wheat prevails in Muslim countries in North Africa and the Near East, which is where we also observe the highest plant protein consumption in the world and moderately tall statures that do not exceed 174 cm. In taller nations, the intake of protein and energy no longer fundamentally rises, but the consumption of plant proteins markedly decreases at the expense of animal proteins, especially those from dairy. Their highest consumption rates can be found in Northern and Central Europe, with the global peak of male height in the Netherlands (184 cm). In general, when only the complete data from 72 countries were considered, the consumption of protein from the five most correlated foods (r = 0.85) and the human development index (r = 0.84) are most strongly associated with tall statures. A notable finding is the low consumption of the most correlated proteins in Muslim oil superpowers and highly developed countries of East Asia, which could explain their lagging behind Europe in terms of physical stature.

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