Study shows that a good diet has allowed children to be a head taller than others.
Based on a new global study that assessed the height and weight of children across the world, it revealed that there is a link between their height and weight to their diet.
The study used data from over 65 million children ages 5 to 19 years old in over 193 countries. It revealed that the children's height and weight, which are factors of their health and good diet greatly vary around the world.
There was a 20 cm difference between 19 years old students in the tallest and shortest nations which represented an eight-year growth gap for girls and a 6-year gap for boys.
For instance, the average 19 years old girl in Bangladesh and Guatemala - the nation with the world's shortest girls - is the same height as an average 11 years old girl in the Netherlands, which is the nation with the tallest boys and girls.
The Implication of the study
The team behind the study said that the lack of a good diet will affect the health and nutrition of children that will affect them for their entire life. This can also cause stunted growth, as well as a rise in the number of obese children.
The research where data were from 1985 to 2019 revealed that the nations with taller children were in the northwest and central Europe, including the countries of Netherlands, Montenegro, Denmark, and Iceland.
On the other hand, nations with shorter children were mostly in south and southeast Asia, Latin America, and East Africa, including Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, and Bangladesh.
The largest improvement when it comes to the height of children over the 35 years was seen in developed countries such as China, South Korea, as well as in some parts of southeast Asia. For instance, taller children in China in 2019 were 8 cm taller than in 1985 where their global ranking changed from 150th with taller children in 1985 to 65th in 2019.
In contrast to the height of the children, a lot of boys in Sub-Saharan African nations reduced or stayed the same over the previous decades.
Heights all over the world
The global height ranking for the UK worsened over the past three decades with children boys falling from 28th in 1985 to 39th in 2019, and girls from 42nd to 49th.
Aside from these, the study also observed and assessed the children's measure of the height to weight ratio that gives a sign of whether a person has a healthy weight for their height. They found out that children with the largest measure of the height to weight ratio were in the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, the USA, and New Zealand. On the other hand, the lowest was found in South Asian countries such as India and Bangladesh.
Dr. Andrea Rodrigues Martinez, the lead author of the study said that their findings should motivate policies that will increase the number and reduce the cost of a good diet, as this will help taller children and shorter children to grow more without gaining too much weight for their height.
Such plans include food vouchers for good diet and food for low-income families, as well as free healthy school meal programs which are really under threat during this time. The said actions will enable taller children as well as shorter children to grow more with lifelong benefits for their health and wellbeing.
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