As per the analysis, an unhealthy diet of teenagers can cause an estimated height difference of 20 cm (7.9in) between the tallest and the shortest nations.
The report also included that in 2019, the shortest and the longest boys lived in Timor Leste and Netherlands with 160.1cm (5ft 3in) and 183.8cm (6ft) respectively.
The variations in height and weight of the children define the availability of a healthy environment and nutrition across the world.
The study includes more than 65 million children aged 5 to 19 with more than 2000 studies published from 1985 to 2019.
The study includes the following points.
- In Laos, the 19-year-old boys have a height of 162.8 cm or 5 ft. 4, similar to the 13-year-old in the Netherlands.
- About 152cm or 5ft was the average height of 19 years old in Guatemala, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Timor Leste parallel to 11-year-old Dutch girls.
- The average height of 19-year-old boys in the UK was 178.2 cm (5 ft. 10 in), and girls 163.9 cm (5 ft. 5 in)
- In China and South Korea, the greatest increases in the average height for children over the last 35 years is recorded.
- However, average heights have remained largely unchanged or dropped significantly since 1985 in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Healthy Gains In Weight
The research also examined the Body Mass Index (BMI) of children, a variable that helps to show whether an individual is a healthy weight for their height.
In the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, the USA, and New Zealand, researchers find older adolescents with the highest BMI.
However, 19-year-olds with the least BMI resides in nations such as India and Bangladesh in South Asia.
Some countries have five-year-olds with healthy BMI but they tend to be overweight by the time they turn nineteen.
However, according to researchers, it is also stated that children’s height and weight are entirely dependent on their heredity but if the entire population is concerned nutrition and environment play a dominating role.
Free Meals At School
The lead researcher from Imperial College London Dr. Andrea Rodriguez Martinez stated that “Our findings should motivate policies that increase the availability and reduce the cost of nutritious foods as this will help children grow taller without gaining excess weight for their height. These initiatives include food vouchers for nutritious foods for low-income families and free healthy school meals.”
Furthermore, Prof Alan Dangour, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine continued, “For the first time this global analysis has focused on the growth of school-aged children and adolescents and identifies that governments around the world are not doing enough to ensure that children enter adulthood in good health.”