Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Clear link found between height and longevity in historical records

Date:
April 8, 2011
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
The way we live directly affects the length of our bodies -- and our lives, according to a new book. By exploring the links between nutrition and economic development in Europe and North America since the early-1700s, the researchers linked the changing size, shape and capability of the human body to economic and demographic change.

New research shows that the way we live directly affects the length of our bodies -- and our lives. The research, which was published April 7 in a new book 'The Changing Body', has been conducted over the past 30 years and confirms that there is a clear link between height and longevity.

By exploring the links between nutrition and economic development in Europe and North America since the early-1700s, the researchers linked the changing size, shape and capability of the human body to economic and demographic change.

The research found that 200 years ago there were substantial differences in height between working-class and upper-class people. For example, in nineteenth-century Europe, there were dramatic differences between the heights of poor London boys and boys attending the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, between army recruits and students attending the Ιcole Polytechnique in France and between the sons of 'elite' families and those who grew up in unskilled manual households in the Netherlands.

In the 1780s, the average height of a 14-year-old working-class child was 1..3m, while an upper class child was "significantly taller" at 1.55m. Today however, as health services, nutrition, sanitation and education have become universal, upper-class children have continued to grow taller, but at a slower rate than working-class children. The difference between the upper- and working-class adults has narrowed to less than 0.06m.

One of the book's authors, Professor Bernard Harris from the University of Southampton, whose work focused on developments in height, health and mortality in Britain and in Continental Europe, says: "The aim is to describe, analyse and explain changes in height and health in different countries over time. However, we also want to emphasise the ways in which the changes may affect patterns of human development in the future.

"Our work shows that there have been dramatic changes in child health (as reflected in achieved adult height) over the last 100 years, and other researchers have highlighted the existence of close links between improvements in child health and health in later life. These changes have profound implications for developments in later-life health, longevity and economic performance over the coming century.

"The investments we make in the health of today's children can play a pivotal role in determining the economic wellbeing of future generations."

Regional variation also plays its part. Two centuries ago, people in Scotland were 2.3cm taller than those living in southern England, while Norwegians were among the shortest nations in Europe. Today the Scottish, averaging 1.73m for an adult male, are shorter than those living in south-east England at 1.75m, while the Norwegians are the second tallest nation in Europe, surpassed only by the Dutch.

Professor Harris says: "Improvements in diet and sanitation in the South-east have outstripped improvements in Scotland, reflecting the broad pattern of economic and social change over the last 200 years."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Clear link found between height and longevity in historical records." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110407093244.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2011, April 8). Clear link found between height and longevity in historical records. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110407093244.htm
University of Southampton. "Clear link found between height and longevity in historical records." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110407093244.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins