Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:44 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:44 | SYDNEY

Dutch tall tale told no more


Sam Roggeveen


8 January 2008 14:59

People seem to find it fascinating when I tell them (with a hint of pride, due to my heritage) that the Dutch are the tallest people on earth. Now my days of repeating this factoid might be coming to an end: it seems the Dutch have stopped growing, probably because Holland's advantages (wealth, good nutrition and high standards of medical care) are bumping up against the human body's genetic limits. The AP story doesn't say if other countries are catching up, but you would assume that in other rich Western economies in particular, there is capacity for nutritional and health care improvements that would bring about an increased average height. But if this really is a point of pride for other countries, there is a short cut: people just need to learn to lie more convincingly. I loved this part of the story:

Mr Frenken based his figures on his agency's annual poll of around 10,000 people, adjusting them slightly to reflect people's tendency to exaggerate their height.