The Average Heights of Men Around the World

by   |   Dec 06, 2022

Human height is largely a heritable trait. However, during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence, certain environmental and non-genetic factors such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, and living conditions have a substantial impact on human height. This indicates a strong correlation between the average height of a population and its living standards.

The past two centuries have witnessed a steady increase in human height following general improvements in nutrition, health, and overall living standards in many parts of the world. Still, there are clear distinctions between countries and regions in terms of average height.

This article will take you on a “height” trip around the world to learn about the tallest and shortest nations while comparing and contrasting the average height of Americans with those of other countries. You will also find awesome tips to effectively increase your height at home in the final section of this article.

How do you calculate average height quickly?

Information on human height is collected and compiled by national health agencies. These vital statistics are used in tracking and calculating average heights across nations. Most national health agencies use a digital stadiometer to measure individuals to the nearest 0.1 centimeters. Standing heights are measured and collected as early as two years of age [1].

Unlike healthcare professionals, the task of measuring height is far from a piece of cake for individuals who try to measure their own height without the help of others. But don’t fret, these tips will help you measure height quickly without anyone’s assistance or even needing to leave your house.

  • Use a straight, flat object such as a ruler or a book.
  • Stand feet flat with your back straight against the wall and place the object on top of your head.
  • Make sure the picked object is straight and parallel with the floor.
  • Mark the wall where the object touches the top of your head using a pencil or other erasable writing tools.
  • Measure from the floor to the marking.

Now that you get to know your height, want to compare it with the tallest average height?

Which country has the tallest average height?

Renowned for its tall population, the Netherlands has unsurprisingly crowned the tallest nation in the world with an average height of 5 feet 7.96 inches or 175.62 centimeters. The average height of Dutch men is 5 feet 11.86 inches or 182.53 centimeters whereas the average height of Dutch women is 5 feet 6.42 inches or 168.72 centimeters [2].

which-country-has-the-tallest-average-height

The Netherlands is the tallest country in the world

Which country has the shortest average height?

On the contrary, Timor-Leste is the country with the shortest people. This Southeast island of Timor has an average height of 5 feet 1.28 inches or 155.47 centimeters. An average Timorese woman is 4 feet 11.50 inches or 151.15 centimeters tall while her male counterpart’s height is measured at 5 feet 2.90 inches or 159.79 centimeters [3].

which-country-has-the-shortest-average-height

Average height for men in the US

Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1999 to 2016 show that the average height for men in the US is approximately 5 feet 9 inches or 175.4 centimeters [1].

average-height-for-men-in-the-us

The study involved over 47,000 women and men from 20 years old and above. As races and ages were reported by participants, the average height of 5 feet 9 inches applies to all groups [4].

But how is the average height for men in the US compared to other countries? Let us take a look!

What is the average height of Americans compared to the world?

Americans used to be the tallest people in the world but they fell behind and moved to the 37th position for average height [5]. Although the average height of people in the US has increased by 2 inches since the 19th century, the rate at which Americans are growing is slower than that of other countries. Take the Dutch for example. Back in the mid-1800s, they were one of the shortest nations along with Italy and France [6]. Their huge height surge over the course of the 20th century is mostly attributed to improvements in healthcare and nutrition.

To account for the fall of Americans on the height scale, one study suggests that as half of the US population’s food expenditure is spent on foods outside of the home, their diets are prone to nutritional deficiencies [7]. This is alarming given the fact that foods consumed outside of the home are not as nutritious and balanced as home-cooked meals. The slow growth of the US average height also reflects differences in the health systems and socio-economic conditions between the US and European countries; however, such differences are minor in comparison to the impact of nutrition.

Some ways to effectively increase height at home

We all know height is hereditary, but that does not mean one can do nothing about it. As in the case of the Netherlands, the country has leveraged a variety of factors, most notably nutrition, to have grown into the tallest nation in the world. Taking this into consideration, you can try these simple tips to boost height gain at home.

Eating right

Poor height growth can be the result of inadequate nutrition. Therefore, to achieve your height potential, it is crucial to maintain a balanced diet during your childhood and adolescence. What we mean by eating right is to make sure your diet includes all essential nutrients and you follow a healthy daily eating schedule. Add ample amounts of calcium to your body by consuming dairy products and green leafy vegetables. A balanced diet also delivers proteins, vitamins, and minerals as these are vital for optimal height development. You can find plenty of these nutrients in chicken, fish, eggs, oatmeal, soybeans, carrots, nuts, potatoes, and beans.

eat-enough-nutrients-to-increase-height

Exercising regularly

You can try simple exercises such as bar hanging, skipping, and stretching and make them a part of your regular exercise routine. For those who want a more intense workout, take up sports like swimming, basketball, or volleyball as they are known to promote growth hormone production and increase height effectively. The tip is to find your most favorite exercise or sport so that you can have a great time while working on your height growth.

Sleeping soundly

A good night’s sleep does more than just re-energize and refresh your body. Did you know that most growth hormone is secreted during deep sleep? In other words, you are literally growing taller while you are sleeping. With this in mind, it is well-advised to build a healthy sleeping schedule in which you go to bed early and sleep for at least 8 hours a day during your growing years.

Sleep is important for height growth

Practicing good posture

Your posture also has a role to play in determining your height growth prospect. Refrain from slouching or hunching at all costs and always keep your head and neck completely aligned. Bad posture not only reduces your height but also negatively affects the spinal cord and potentially leads to back problems. Maintaining proper posture will allow you to reach your maximum height potential and even boost your confidence.

Drinking plenty of water

Believe it or not? Water is a vital thing for supporting height growth. Since our body always has a lot of toxins that need to be removed, water will do this. And once the body can function properly, you might notice changes in your health, including your growth rate. It is advised to drink at least 8 glasses of water or more daily to keep the body hydrated and support the metabolism working well.

Massaging and doing yoga

Massaging your body with warm essential oils about half an hour before bedtime or practicing some yoga poses might stimulate growth hormones [8]. Depending on your flexibility and purpose, you can choose from mild to moderate poses, such as the child’s pose, cat pose, cobra pose, or mountain pose.

Dressing in a smart way

Do you know clothes do not determine how you look but also how tall you look? Wearing heels is one of the most popular things to help you appear taller. But other fashion tips will surely help you. For instance, you can try high-waisted jeans and crop tops, monochromatic clothing, or vertical stripes to give a tall illusion for your short stature. But avoid opting for loose clothes or elongated/voluminous jackets, or they might make you shorter than you are.

Not smoking and drinking

We all know smoking and drinking are dangerous to overall health, including stunted growth. Researchers pointed out that cigarette smoke might affect height growth during the life of a person. Even regularly smoking during pregnancy badly affects the development of the fetus [9]. Like smoking, drinking may interfere with the height growth of a person.

Taking height growth supplements

Dietary supplements are another popular choice to consider if you want to improve your height. They range from vitamins, minerals, herbs, and even synthetic growth hormones to support new bone tissues and muscle growth in the spine to enhance height. But you need to study carefully or talk to your doctor first. And make sure to follow the right dosage as well as advice to acquire the best results.

Above are the secret tips to increase your height effectively at home. Incorporate them into your lifestyle and get ready to join the world’s tallest populations. But keep in mind these methods only work if you are still growing, i.e. your growth plates have not completely fused yet.

REFERENCES

[1] https://www.verywellfit.com/average-height-for-a-man-statistics-2632137

[2] https://www.insider.com/tallest-people-world-countries-ranked-2019-6#1-the-netherlands-17562cm-5-feet-796-inches-25

[3] https://www.insider.com/shortest-people-in-world-by-country-2019-6#1-timor-leste-15547cm-5-feet-128-inches-25

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_039.pdf 

[5] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318155#factors-that-influence-height

[6] https://www.iamexpat.nl/expat-info/dutch-expat-news/how-did-dutch-get-so-tall

[7] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/nutrition-in-children-and-adolescents-in-europe-what-is-the-scientific-basis-introduction/2F641C6EC2DF3963A2689D010970331E

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4034508/

[9] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/health_effects/pregnancy/index.htm

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