University Study Finds Average Height of Women Is Declining in Low-Income Areas of the Globe

A new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health finds that the average height of women in many developing countries is declining. The height declines are most prevalent in Africa.

The research examined height records of more than 360,000 women in 54 nations between 1994 and 2008. The results showed that the average height of women declined in 14 countries, all of which are in Africa. In 21 countries, the average height of women remained the same during the period. In 26 countries the average height of women increased. Most of these countries were in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific regions. The study also found that the average height of low-income women declined in 52 of the 54 nations surveyed.

The report concludes that poor nutrition, exposure to infections, and other environmental factors are hampering women’s health and growth in low-income areas of the world.

The study, “Height of Nations: A Socioeconomic Analysis of Cohort Differences and Patterns Among Women in Developing Countries,” can be downloaded here.

Filed Under: Research/StudyWomen's Studies


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