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Why are the Dutch people so tall?

11:32 AM | 8 Apr, 2015
Why are the Dutch people so tall?
PARIS (APP) - The Netherlands is the land of giants: on average, its women stand almost 1.71 metres (5.6 feet) tall, and its men 1.84 metres.

But how the Dutch became the world's tallest people has been somewhat of a mystery.

After all, two centuries ago they were renowned for being among the shortest. What happened since then?

A popular explanation is nutrition -- a calorie-stuffed diet rich in meat and dairy products.

But that can't be the whole story, experts say.

Other European countries, too, have enjoyed similar prosperity and a rise in living standards, yet their citizens have not shot skywards as much.

The average male height in the Netherlands has gained 20 cm (eight inches) in the last 150 years, according to military records.

By comparison, the height of the average American man has risen a mere six cm over the same period.

Researchers led by Gert Stulp, a specialist in population health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, combed a Dutch database for clues.

Called LifeLines, the record contains exhaustive detail about the lives and health of more than 94,500 people who lived in the northern the Netherlands from 1935 to 1967.

In this three-decade snapshot, the people who had the most children were tall men, and women of average height, the team found.

For example, the most fertile men were 7 cm above the average height. Statistically, they had 0.24 more children on average than the least fertile men, who were about 14 cm below the average height.

Compared to counterparts in other countries where they often tended to have fewer children, taller women also reproduced more in the Netherlands.
dutch
Many postponed having children until after their studies, but once they forged a successful relationship, often had a large family.

The study did not involve genetic testing, but concluded from the observations that natural selection must have played a part: with time, more and more Dutch started sporting tall genes.

"Natural selection in addition to good environmental conditions may help explain why the Dutch are so tall," said the study published Wednesday in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B.

Tall, tallest, taller
"Height is very heritable -- taller parents tend to have somewhat taller children than shorter parents," Stulp told AFP by email.

"Because taller individuals would have more offspring in the next generation who would be taller, the average height in that generation would a bit taller on average than the preceding generation, if all else is equal."

There seems to be a cultural preference as well.

Stulp pointed to figures showing that, in the United States, shorter women and men of average height have the most reproductive success.

"There is much variation in what men and women want," he said.

"When it comes to choosing a mate, height tends to have (only) a small effect, which is not very surprising given the many other, more important, traits people value in their mate.

The author is working as Editor Digital Media for Daily Pakistan and can be reached @ItsSarfrazAli.

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Rupee exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 18 April 2024

Pakistani currency continues to gain against US Dollar and other currencies on April 18, 2024. US dollar was being quoted at 277.2 for buying and 280.3 for selling.

Euro comes down to 293 for buying and 296 for selling while British Pound stands at 342.25 for buying, and 345.65 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.25 and Saudi Riyal's new rates was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 18 April 2024

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.2 280.3
Euro EUR 293 296
UK Pound Sterling GBP 342.25  345.65 
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.25  75.95
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.3 74.05
Australian Dollar AUD 181 182.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 739.63 747.63
Canadian Dollar CAD 201 203
China Yuan CNY 38.45 38.85
Danish Krone DKK 40.45 40.85
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.57 35.92
Indian Rupee INR 3.32 3.43
Japanese Yen JPY 1.86 1.94
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 902.26 912.91
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.24 59.52
New Zealand Dollar NZD 164.75 169.63
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.42 25.68
Omani Riyal OMR 722.1 730.1
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.37 77.05
Singapore Dollar SGD 206 208
Swedish Korona SEK 25.72 26.02
Swiss Franc CHF 307.11 309.61
Thai Bhat THB 7.56 7.76

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