Let it be Men or Women we all have this obsession to be tall or to look taller. Whereas new data shows that Indian men are getting shorter over the last decade. Not only in men the decline in height has been seen large numbers of women. Is this study true? Let’s get into this to know more.
People were generally short before the 20th Century
An article published in 1988, where the writer says when he was studying the old buildings in Philadelphia and Boston he found out that the doors of the house were short. Those buildings were made in the 17th century, by his observation he meant the building around that time were built for people for different heights shorter than now.
His observation is nothing wrong many studies have shown people’s heights are increasing since the 19th and 20th century and it has been observed in both men and women. A study of 20th-century British natality trends indicated that while tall men tended to reproduce more than short men, women of below-average height had more children than taller women.
New study says Indian’s people height are gradually decreasing
While it’s not surprising that the heights of Indians are shorter in comparison with Western people. While, a new paper published on September 17 says that while the average height of people across the world is increasing, the average height of Indians is falling.
The paper examines that this decreasing trend is getting worse, after comparing the heights of Indian men and women between the age groups of 15-25 and 26-50 based on the National Family and Health Surveys. Further, its indications are not good.
If we compare the height of Indian Women who are now in the age group of 23-25. Then India falls in the 9th rank among shortest women. If we compare to other parts of the world from the previous generation, Indians had an average height but since 1966 the heights of Indians started decreasing at an alarming rate.
Comparing Indians height of ours previous generation
For this, we can use the latest research published by JNU. Now, what this research tells us, The study, titled “Trends of adult height in India from 1998 to 2015: Evidence from the National Family and Health Survey” compared data from three NFHS rounds – NFHS-II (1998–’99), III (2005–’06), IV (2015–’16) – to look at changes in height over the years.
NFHS is carried out by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and is one of the foremost Indian sources to study public health and evaluate existing policies. The study shows the height of women from 1998-2005 has increased by 0. 13 cm but after 2005 till 2015 there’s a dip in height of women of age group 15-26 by around 0.12 cm. The same goes for Men also average male height decrease after 2005.
The paper brings out a troubling mismatch between economic growth and public health.
Why the decrease in height is worrying and how does it matter?
First of all, height is influenced by many factors such as genetics, non-genetic factors like nutrition and environment play a significant role as well. Variables such as household characteristics (such as several siblings and class) and caste have a bearing on an individual’s nutrition and growth. Height is also sometimes highly correlated with wealth.
According to studies, people from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities are, on average, shorter than those belonging to Other Backward Class and Upper Castes. Thus, a person’s height is a sign of physical well-being and standard of living.
Situation of India’s public health
India currently ranks very low in the 2021 Global Hunger Index. It also has the most number of children who are underweight according to their height. The matters seem more troubling as public health indicators are getting worse. In the past four years, seven out of ten major states saw an increase in the number of underweight children. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 has impacted public health severely.
This all shows the situation of India, while some of us might have a good lifestyle but are we the representative of India? The truth is many Indians still live in poor conditions with a lack of nutrition and food from agriculture etc. Which all affects the Height, Growth, Development of a person overall.