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Diet and height/body type

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I know that severe malnourishment in childhood can negatively affect height for example, but can diet have influence on it as well?


Teke Asia for example - the tallest of all East Asians are Northern Chinese, followed by Koreans and Japanese, with South Chinese and peoples of Southeast Asia being generally the shortest. I know that such disparity can be explained by genetic differences but diet differences have been suggested as well - more precisely, higher intake of meat and dairy products in the north as compared to more vegetable based died in the south. Is there any truth in this? I wonder.


And East Asians in general are smaller than Europeans. For example, Dutch men have an average height of between 179 and 183cm (estimates vary) while Japanese men only reach about 170-173cm on average.

Edited by Irbis
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Hi Irbis, yes of course genetics play the major role. but also other factors such as nutrition and sun exposure are significant to explain the physical development of individuals. just think about the observations done on separated twins that grew up in different countries with different nutritional habits/cultures/availability that resulted into two completely different statures and body shapes.

also, you can note how in Europe too before the industrial revolution the average hight was almolto 10cm lower than the actual mean. This is because if you see as reported on the graphics of the below link (that is for the country of Italy for the last century), consumption of protein has dramatically increased. Also, availability of variety of food has increased thanks to transportation improvements and this has lead to better general health.



However, what has lately concerned many countries, especially those in Europe, is the effect of the hormones given to cows (& thus to milk products) on humans when consuming these meats. it has been demonstrated to have dratic effects on: the growth in size, on the sexual development, and on the mental acuity. In fact there have been many reported cases of adolescent boys growing breasts or manifesting other such problems who have been perfectly been cured just by eliminating meats treated with hormones, and also, it is currently under accusation the consumption of milk too for promoting in girls earlier first menstruation. In the US there are in fact statures that are unseen anywhere else in the world, and it is not due to meat consuption which is comparable to that of many other European countries, but due to the hormone levels and types given to their livestock.

This also explains why in countries where the highest percenatge of protein intake comes from sources such as fish, eggs, and insects, where the hormone administration is at insignificant levels if none, and their statures are small.

However it is reccommended by many world famouse nutritionists to eat between .8- 1.0 grams of protein per (ideal/healthy) body weight, but only HALF of these coming from animal sources. That is the ideal quantity for guaranteeing all nutritional needs and avoiding problems in development either for malnutrition or overnutrition.

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