A new study revealed that Argentina has the tallest men in South America. And before you chalk this up to another example of Argentines’ unrivaled love for superlatives, there’s data to back this bragging right.
The study was done by the Imperial College of London and used data from 200 countries to calculate and rank countries by height and compare how populations have “grown” over the past century, from 1914 to 2014. The average height of Argentine men has increased 12 centimeters over the past century, from 1.62 meters to 1.74. Women’s average height increased by 8.6 centimeters to an average 1.59 meters today.
Three cheers for another number one ranking for Argentina, or maybe just two cheers because while the men are indeed the tallest on the continent, the women fell short (pun intended) behind Uruguay’s. And take away another cheer because Argentina sits pretty much in the middle among world rankings. According to the study, when ranking height, the men came in at 55th in the world and women at 96th.
So what countries dare call themselves better at growing than Argentina? The Netherlands takes the cake for tallest men, with an average of 1.82 meters and the tallest women are Latvian with an average height of 1.7 meters. The shortest men in the world are from East Timor and have an average height of 1.62 meters while the shortest women are from Guatemala with an average height of 1.49 meters.
Argentina may not be the tallest in the world but it’s not the shortest and it can still be proud of how much it’s grown over the past century. Men and women’s growth here is nearly double that of the United States over the past century. But the women of South Korea and men of Iran grew the most, though, by 20.2 and 16.5 centimeters, respectively. Good job.
The study claims that these height statistics are more than cosmetic comparisons and actually reveal the influence of socioeconomic factors. For instance, it revealed a 20 centimeter gap between the richest and poorest countries. Asia’s lower height ranking was partially explained by its “rising population, coupled with worsening economic status,” which “may have undermined earlier dietary advantage.”
The study also looked to these factors to explain many sub-Saharan African countries’ growth was stagnant. Some countries, including Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, even saw decreases in height over the past half decade. However, it also pointed out that besides diet and environmental factors, genes play a role.
Although Argentina is hanging out in the middle of the world’s height rankings right now, the country has seen growth and evidence suggests that there will be sustained growth for South America, Southern Europe and East Asia in the coming decades. So don’t be surprised if Argentina pulls ahead to number one in the world like it has so many times before.