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European men got considerably taller in the 110 years between 1870 and 1980 and since better health was the probable cause, Asian men are likely growing taller as well.
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Left: Photo of a man taken between 1870-80 published by Wikimedia Commons. Right: Man in French fashion show taken in 2013 and distributed by AFP.
Men, and very possibly women, are getting taller.
We now have conclusive proof that European men grew substantially between 1870 and 1980 and the reason, better health, means it is likely Asian men will grow taller than their ancestors as well.
A study published on Monday reported that the average height of European men rose by 11 centimetres (4.4 inches) between 1870 and 1980.
The estimate was garnered from military, medical and other records from 15 countries for young adult males aged around 21.
Countries in northern Europe saw the biggest growth in height between the two world wars.
But those in southern Europe, a definition that includes France, had their biggest increase after World War II.
Timothy Hatton, an economist at the University of Essex, England, and the Australian National University in Canberra, describes the change as "explosive."
"The evidence suggests that the most important...source of increasing height was the improving disease environment," he writes.
"Rising income and education and falling family size had more modest effects."
The paper appears in Oxford Economic Papers, published by Oxford University Press.
In 1980, Dutch men were the tallest of the 15 countries studied, reaching around 1m83 (six feet), while the shortest were Portuguese, at around 1m73 (five feet, eight inches).
The study only looked at men, as there is little accurate data for the height of women for this period.
Adapted from an AFP story.
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accurate: correct, exact and without any mistakes - ถูกต้อง, แม่นยำ
adult: a fully grown person who is legally responsible for their actions - ผู้ใหญ่
ancestors: people who are related to you who lived a long time ago - บรรพบุรุษ
average: an amount calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts - เฉลี่ย, ค่าเฉลี่ย
conclusive: proving that something is true - แน่นอน, เป็นข้อสรุป
data: facts or information, especially when examined and used to find out things or to make decisions - ข้อมูล, ตัวเลข, สถิติ
definition: a statement of what a word or expression means - คำจำกัดความ,คำอธิบาย
economist: a person who studies or writes about economics - นักเศรษฐศาสตร์
effect: a change that somebody/something causes in somebody/something else; a result - ผลกระทบ
environment: the place in which people live and work, including all the physical conditions that affect them - สภาพแวดล้อม, สิ่งแวดล้อม
estimate: an amount that you guess or calculate using the information available - ประมาณการ
evidence: facts, signs or objects that make you believe that something is true - หลักฐาน,ข้อแสดง
explosive: increasing suddenly and rapidly - ที่เพิ่มขึ้นอย่างฉับพลันและรวดเร็ว
garner: to obtain; to get - ได้รับ, รวบรวมได้
improve: to get better - ดีขึ้น
income: money that someone gets from working or from investing money - รายได้
increase: a rise in the amount, number or value of something - การเพิ่มขึ้น, การงอกเงย, การขยาย
male: being a man or a boy - ผู้ชาย
modest: fairly small - พอประมาณ ค่อนข้างเล็ก
period: a particular length of time - ระยะเวลา
proof: information, documents, etc. that show that something is true - การพิสูจน์
publish: to make something available to the public through books, magazines, the Internet, etc. - เผยแพร่, จัดพิมพ์
source: the cause of something - ต้นกำเนิด
substantially: very much; a lot; in a significant way - อย่างมาก