The average human height has increased substantially over the past century. This trend is attributed to better nutrition and general improvement in public health. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was expected that kids would outgrow their parents. However, research in the mid and late 20th century revealed that several other factors affect height. The average height of an American woman above 20 years is 5 feet 3.5 inches or 161.5 centimeters.
What is the Average Height of an American Woman?
The average height of women has increased slightly since the 1960s compared to the average weight. Genetic makeup affects an individual's height alongside several other factors including exposure to diseases and diet. The increase in height is attributed to the prevention and elimination of diseases and better diets. However, American women have experienced slower growth in average height compared to the global median. In 1914, American woman ranked fourth in height, a century later, they rank 42nd. This trend is replicated by their male counterparts who have dropped 34 places in the same period. The slow increase in height among American women is attributed to bad nutritional choices. Although most infants receive enough food, the nutritional value of what they eat is often questioned by nutritionists. Immigration of shorter people into the US is also a factor. Non-Hispanic white women are the tallest with an average height of 5 feet 4.5 inches followed by African American women at 5 feet 4 inches. Hispanic and Latino American women and Asian American women average 5 feet 1.5 inches.
Factors that Influence Height
Genetic inheritance influence 60% to 80% of height while the environment and nutrition determine the remaining 20% to 40%. In extreme conditions, exposure to diseases and diet can affect height by 50%. External factors that influence height include birth weight, premature births, hormones changes, nutrition, geographic location, and diseases.
Global Trends in Height
The global average height of women is 5 feet 3-4 inches meaning that the American woman lies within the median height. European women average 5 feet 6 inches while Asian women average 5 feet. However, the trend changes depending on the country and individuals. South Korean women have experienced a growth of eight inches over the past century although they are still shorter than American women. The shortest women are from Guatemala, Philippines, Bangladesh, and Nepal at about 59.5 inches.