A new global study on height has revealed that Kenyans have not grown any taller in the last 100 years and are way shorter compared to their European counterparts.
According to the research, led by scientists from Imperial College London, which was published in the eLife journal, the average Kenyan man has lost a few centimetres off their height from 1962 at 172.2cm (5ft 6in) and then stagnated to 169.6cm (5ft 5in) while the Kenyan woman has moved from 160.6cm (5ft 2in) in 1962 to 158.2cm (5ft 1in) in 2014.
The study reckons that average height of young men and women has decreased by as much as 5cm over the past 40 years in some Sub-Saharan African countries, such as Sierra Leone, Uganda and Rwanda.
Who are the tallest people in the world?
The, research, which is the largest ever study of height around the world has found that Dutch men and Latvian women are the tallest on the planet.
The findings also revealed that once-tall USA had declined from third tallest men and fourth tallest women in the world in 1914 to 37th and 42nd place respectively in 2014, with the height of men and women in the UK having increased by around 11cm over the past century.
How tall are you? What factors impact the size of a nation?
“How tall we grow is strongly influenced by nutrition and environmental factors, although genetics may also play a role. Children and adolescents who are better nourished and live in healthier environments tend to be taller,” the study says.
“Height may also be influenced by a mother’s health and nutrition during pregnancy.”
Women in South Korea and men in Iran have seen the biggest increase in height over this period, growing by an average of 20.2cm and 16.5cm respectively.
The study also found out that the difference between the tallest and shortest countries in the world in 2014 was about 23cm for men – an increase of 4cm on the height gap in 1914. The height difference between the world’s tallest and shortest countries for women has remained the same across the century, at about 20cm.
“This study gives us a picture of the health of nations over the past century, and reveals the average height of some nations may even be shrinking while others continue to grow taller,” said study author, Professor Majid Ezzati.