The Tallest Nation

I remembered while working on this site that there was a very unique site named wiseGEEK that I had found years ago that was in a similar format to Yahoo Ask. The reference link to wiseGEEK is found HERE. Someone asks a question and there is a standard answer and the readers can also leave their comments and answers to the question posed.

The question was “Which country has the tallest people?” I think the question was posed maybe 5 years ago (I am not sure about the real time frame, this is just a guess). However, the question has generated up to last count 310 comments.

The standard answer to the question is that the tallest nation is The Netherlands. The average male in the Netherlands was measured at 1.85 meters or slightly less than 6′ 1″ in US units. In 2nd place is Denmark , with the average male Dane being 1.83 m or 6′ 0″ tall. This claim apparently is verified quite strongly by other reports from back in 2007/2008 (Reference Link 1, Reference Link 2, Reference Link 3)

However , the answer is quick to note that “” There are taller people belonging to certain populations within countries. This is especially true of the Maasai people, who live in parts of Tanzania and Kenya. But as a whole, the citizens living in the Netherlands are on average, the tallest people. “” On a side note, the tallest member of the most recent USA swim team Matt Grevers at 6′ 8″ is Dutch.

After officially answering the question, the writer goes a little deeper in trying to figure out why the Dutch are the tallest in the world. They claim that “” the Dutch emphasis on early childhood care, a diet rich in dairy products and thus high in protein, and a fairly even distribution of wealth have contributed to making the Dutch the world’s tallest people. “”

It is also noted that the Netherlands provide for its residents some of the best Healthcare for newborns and children. The most critical stages and phases for grow are in those stage. Smart Dutch.

So basically get your calcium and vitamin D through eating a lot of dairy and getting a lot of protein. The relatively even distribution of wealth I guess means that the people don’t feel too much pressure and stress to compete and struggle to survive, thus the effect of stress reducing height is removed. OK, I am willing to go with that rather “hand waving” science reasoning.

A nice little last point made by the writer is “” Further, the measurement is “average height” which means some people far exceed 6 feet 1 inch. Some people are significantly taller and may stand nearly 7 feet (2.13 m) tall,””. Well DUH, since when any statistician creates bar graph noting all the heights of a large number of people, the distribution will become more and more bell shaped and the line will become smoother as the number of people measured becomes bigger. If that bell curved is than checked at the upper end, we are bound to find a few 7 footers. It’s not like we are measuring from a group of only 1000 people. Of course even from a 1000 people, with a country like the Netherlands we should probably not rule out that a 7 footer would be in there. I personally have not been to the Netherlands but I have heard people claim that the real local natives there (not the recent immigrants say from the middle east or northern africa) are very tall.

What is just as strange was that maybe only 1 year after the first reports came out that the Dutch were the tallest in the world, there was a few reports that showed that the Dutch do seemed to have plateaued in their height too. (Reference Link 1, Reference Link 2). Some researchers have shown that the height increase slowing down could be explained because of the influx of immigrants from shorter countries like the Middle East or South Asia. However, it is noted also that even the immigrants who arrive come to The Netherlands are on average taller than their counterparts back in their native nations.



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