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The world’s tallest nationalities have been revealed

Sexy football, magnificent pancakes and now the world's tallest people.

Yep, if you needed more reasons to envy the Dutch you'll find it in a new scientific study which found they are the world's loftiest nationality, with its menfolk measuring up at a lofty 183cm (6ft). 

Meanwhile, you'll find the tallest females in Latvia, where 170cm (5ft 7in) was deemed the norm among women.

The collective work of 800 scientists by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration in association with the World Health Organization, the paper, A Century of Trends in Adult Human Height, tracked growth trends in 187 countries since 1914, revealing a whole heap of fluctuations on the median heights around the world.

For instance, while European countries dominated the height chart (though data did suggest many growth trends in the West had largely levelled out), the biggest gains came in East Asian countries like Japan, China and South Korea.

Iranian men and South Korean women were reported to have seen the biggest growth spurts, seeing their heights go up by an average of more than 16cm (6in) and 20cm (8in) respectively over the past century.

"But what about the small guys?", we hear you ask. Well, the tiniest men on earth were found in Southeast Asia’s East Timor (an average of 160cm; 5ft 3in), and smallest women in Guatemala at (4ft 11in) - despite the fact that roughly a century ago females in that part of the world measured just 140cm (4ft 7in).

Closer to home, both sexes in the United Kingdom have shot up by exactly 11cm (4in), meaning the average British man now stands at 178cm (5ft 10in), and British woman at 164cm (5ft 5in). Which makes for a lot better reading than our American cousins, who have actually got smaller since 1914, sinking from the lofty position of third tallest men and fourth tallest women on the earth, to 37th and 42nd place today.

Could the sharp fall be a genetic issue or is it America’s rich, sugary diet to blame?

Speaking to BBC News, lead scientist Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London said that DNA plays a part in height fluctuations around the world, but that’s not the whole story: "About a third of the explanation could be genes, but that doesn't explain the change over time. Genes don't change that fast and they don't vary that much across the world. So changes over time and variations across the world are largely environmental. That's at the whole population level versus for any individual whose genes clearly matter a lot."

Ezzati added that healthcare, sanitation, and nutrition were the key drivers, as was a mother's health and nutrition during pregnancy.

Now, does anyone know where we can get a good pair of clogs?

[Via: BBC]

The nations with the tallest men in 2014 (1914 ranking in brackets)

Netherlands (12)
Belgium (33)
Estonia (4)
Latvia (13)
Denmark (9)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (19)
Croatia (22)
Serbia (30)
Iceland (6)
Czech republic (24)

The nations with the tallest women in 2014 (1914 ranking in brackets):

Latvia (28)
Netherlands (38)
Estonia (16)
Czech Republic (69)
Serbia (93)
Slovakia (26)
Denmark (11)
Lithuania (41)
Belarus (42)
Ukraine (43)