So you say you’d like your child to play in the NBA… or at least to score points (and perhaps a basketball scholarship) at a leading university. Besides talent your child is going to need some serious height. So where can you get the gene that will allow them to tower over their classmates? Apparently, from the Dutch.
A new report out says in the last 150 years, the Dutch have become the tallest people on Earth — and experts say they’re still getting bigger. Chock it up to the nation’s health and wealth. Studies show the Dutch thrive on a protein-rich diet and a national health service that pampers infants. The result: the average Dutchman stands just over 6 feet, while women average nearly 5-foot-7.
But, it wasn’t always this way. The Dutch Height Report notes that it was only in the 1950s that the Dutch passed Americans, who stood tallest for most of the last 200 years. A leading expert on height says the United States has now fallen behind Denmark. Given that, it’s no surprise that the country has had to make amends to cater to it’s growing population Recently, the government adjusted building codes to raise the standards for door frames and ceilings. Doors must now be 7-feet, 6 1/2-inches high.
And that’s not all. Many of the country’s tallest residents have united and formed the “Tall People’s Club.” Currently, the club has a membership of 2,000 individuals and families, or about 4,500 people including children. According to the club’s founding members, requirements to join are “minimal.” Men must be about 6-foot-3 and women 5-foot-11. By those standards, experts estimate about 800,000 people would qualify in the country of 16 million.
Lest you think that the Dutch have always enjoyed towering over others consider this: In 1848, one man out of four was rejected by the Dutch military because he was shorter than 5-foot-2. What’s more, studies show that even during the 17th century, when Amsterdam was the world’s richest city, wealth was concentrated in the hands of a few merchants and average height did not increase. However, as lifestyles improved, the average height of Dutch men grew and experts now predict that the average height could reach 6-foot-3 within 50 years.
Are you the recipient of those fabulous Dutch genes? If so how tall do you stand?