World Facts

Countries With The Tallest Average Heights

Genetics and diet make Europe a fertile ground for growing tall men and women.

The World Health Organization has determined the international standards for children's growth to the age of 5 years old. This classification is based on the norms seen among children coming from economically advantaged backgrounds, which exhibit similar growth patterns when breastfed during infancy. A person's height is measured from his or her feet to the top of his or her head. Measurement of such is done with a device called a stadiometer. There are some factors that relate to growth, as populations sharing the same environmental factors and genetic backgrounds often exhibit similar trends in stature. Although genes and the endocrine system may cause such contrasting extremes as dwarfism or gigantism, children may also suffer from delayed growth and marked reductions of height achieved during adulthood due to malnutrition and external factors, such as during wartime or economic situations like poverty. With that in mind, we look at the countries with the tallest average populaces in the world, all of which are to be found in Europe. These average heights are the mean for total analyzed populations, including both male and female participants.

10. Finland (5 feet, 8.5 inches)

Finland comes in at the tenth spot in the list, with its citizens' average heights collectively being 5 feet, 8.5 inches across both genders. Studies in Finland show that genes influence growth at each stage of height achieved in life. Obviously, nutrition and environment also are other factors that turn on the growth genes in childhood. Breastfeeding is also being promoted in the country as being beneficial to Finnish babies. Public nutrition research in Finland is serious about the correlation between food and the prevention of health problems. Physical activity, such as sports, and diet are also among the government's list of important domestic policies.

9. Sweden (5 feet, 8.5 inches)

Sweden hits the list in the ninth spot, with its citizens' average heights being 5 feet, 8.5 inches across both genders. Studies have been done that correlate people's height with good health, and the Swedes certainly can boast of good health. It probably also helps that the country is not overcrowded by global standards. Good nutrition in Sweden also gave its children a good start. The new lower carbohydrate, higher fat diet recently recommended by the Swedish Council on Health may in the future become the norm in the country, and is supposed to be more conducive to their cool clime genetics.

8. Serbia (5 feet, 8.5 inches)

Serbia is at the eighth spot in the list, with its citizens exhibiting an average height of 5 feet, 8.5 inches across both genders. The combination of Slavic and Mediterranean gene pools are the source of these people's great natural heights. The predominant brachycephaly Dinaric trait has been identified as one of these factors. Slavic athletics and exercise from the time of childhood may be other factors influencing the growth spurts. Serbian meals are always rich in dairy products and protein from meat, and dining patterns exemplify meals being partaken of later in the day.

7. Lithuania (5 feet, 8.75 inches)

Lithuania is at seventh place, with its own citizens' anthropomorphic markings being seen in an average height of 5 feet, 8.75 inches across both genders. The country couldn't be faulted when it declared its independence from the Soviet Union, as ealth has continually increased there since. Lithuanians have increased their heights by at least 7 inches since the early 1900s. It must be all of those potatoes and rye bread that have powered the growth. Beef, chicken, and pork protein might have also helped a lot. The cool northern clime couldn't be faulted either.

6. Germany (5 feet, 8.75 inches)

Germany is at sixth place, with its citizens making the mark at an average height of 5 feet, 8.75 inches across both genders. The diet in Germany typically is known the world over, especially for their beer festivals and great sausage selections. There is a saying among Germans that follows that diet, “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.” That exemplifies the German diet, which is also rich in protein and high in sugar and fat. Potato and wheat are the main staples, usually accompanied with some sort of meat, and often dairy as well. Although alcohol and tobacco use in Germany are among some of the highest in Europe, these could not be said to be one of the contributing factors towards growth, though still these recreational indulgences have not proven sufficient enough to stunt German height across the board either.

5. Norway (5 feet, 9 inches)

Norway hits the list in the fifth spot, with its citizens' average heights at 5 feet, 9 inches across both genders. In the old days, the Vikings were some of the tallest people, and, today, Norwegians remain in that category. The Norwegian diet is full of protein and good calories that must maintain their superb growth from childhood years and on. The country is known for its quality of life and social mobility, as well as its human development assistance from the government. Much of this is supported by its oil reserve revenues.

4. Denmark (5 feet, 9.25 inches)

Denmark proves it's got conducive genes and environmental factors for height by coming in at fourth place, with its citizens' average heights at 5 feet, 9.25 inches across both genders. The Danes are known for their good looks among Danish and fairness among Dane maidens alike. They register as one of the wealthier nations in Europe, and their income is one of the highest per capita in the world as well. The Danish government takes care of its own with its excellent social services. Diet and genes, however, obviously have the final say in determining growth.

3. Montenegro (5 feet, 9.25 inches)

Montenegro comes in at the third spot in the list, with its citizens' average heights being 5 feet, 9.25 inches across both genders. Montenegro is situated in the Dinaric Alps, which has great weather and clean mountain air. Children in Montenegro have good nutrition, and that partly explains the Montenegrin height advantage. Montenegro's cuisine has Italian, Turkish, and Hungarian flavors, which prove to have more than enough nutritional value. The Montenegrin gene pool, of course, is the major factor that gives its people an edge over other countries in maintaining its population's height increment.

2. Netherlands (5 feet, 9.75 inches)

The Netherlands comes in second in height with its citizens' average heights at 5 feet, 9.75 inches across both genders. As determined by the World Health Organization, quality of life and a good diet consisting of dairy products and cold-water fish may have contributed to their tall stature. The predominance of this phenomenon is translated into the only country in the world that has an advocacy representing tall people. It's interesting to note that all government buildings in the Netherlands have tall doorways.

1. Bosnia & Herzegovina (5 feet, 10 inches)

Bosnia & Herzegovina enjoys the top spot as having the world's tallest people, at 5 feet, 10 inches of average height across both genders. The mix of a Mediterranean climate and cool, northern, temperate weather must have spurted the growth of these gentle people. The cuisine, which is dependent on light dishes and spices, could be another reason for the tall statures seen there. Beef, lamb, cheeses, and vegetables, complemented by great wine, are also part of the diet that must have turned on the height gene to the max. It seems that Balkan countries have the same height advantages as Northern Europe.

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