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Are we getting shorter?

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  • Are we getting shorter?

    I saw a quote from "The Paleo Diet" by Loren Cordain (I haven't read it yet) but it said that we're "getting shorter" since the introduction of wheat to our diet. And I remember reading something about WAPF saying the same thing - but now I can't seem to find anything about it and I don't have the Cordain book.

    Does anyone have a good resource, or any additional sources about this?

  • #2
    Here's an old article by Jared Diamond talking about this very thing:

    http://www.environnement.ens.fr/pers...ed_diamond.pdf

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    • #3
      Great, thanks!

      Any others? Bueller? Bueller?

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      • #4
        I don't have any sources, but I thought the claim is that the average height decreased immediately following the agricultural revolution, and that we only recently have regained our former height . That is to say, we are no longer getting shorter.

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        • #5
          American Indians did practice agriculture but as far as I know they were predominately a hunter/gather type culture. Europeans were more agriculture based.

          When Europeans first came to the Americas they averaged 5'3". The indigenous people that they encountered averaged 6"3".
          Does that say something about stature and height?


          I have an interesting point from an old book. The bible. According to that book, the original diet for mankind was fruit that bears seed, roots and herbs of the earth, and all green things. People had life spans that were counted in centuries, not years. Then after the flood, Noah and his posse were told that from now on they could eat animals. Each generation after they became meat eaters had a shorter life span. Take from that what you will. I still eat meat.

          This was not meant to start a religious discussion. Just pointing out some lore that most people don't know.
          Tayatha om bekandze

          Bekandze maha bekandze

          Randza samu gate soha

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          • #6
            Interesting piece of information from the Bible.

            I am one of those unfortunate enough to be 'under average height'. My whole family is similar, and in fact thinking about it, everybody in the village where I used to live is similar (don't know if that means anything). My boyfriend says it's like visiting the Shire when we go to visit .

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            • #7
              I'm originally from New Zealand but came to the UK in the 1980's. I am quite tall (5ft 9in) for a woman, and when I arrived here I felt I towered over the men in a way I didn't at home (many NZers are descended from UK immigrants, as I am). I used to work in a UK sixth form college (kids aged 16-19) and in recent years even some of the girls were taller than me. I think the Brits are getting taller but I'm not sure why. I don't notice a similar increase in height in NZ when I go back, although they have a similar obesity problem as the UK.

              I do have some tall genes in my family, so I'm not really saying diet is relevant for my height, but just that I have noticed a change over relatively few years.
              My website: http://www.shoppinganywhere.net/

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              • #8
                Yes, short answer. Average height fluctuates according to changes in diet. I can't remember the references though.
                A steak a day keeps the doctor away

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                • #9
                  Yep, word on the street (or so I hear) is that once wheat hit our diet humans began to shrink down because the extra size was no longer required to obtain food now that we had an easily accessible source; also, probably has to do with the total lack of nutritional value in a grain based diet.

                  Personally I'm a short guy, shortest in my family and a couple inches below average height...but lately when I eat a PB diet I *feel* taller, whether I actually grew or not I can't say, but like the kids are saying "Baby it ain't about looking cool, but feeling cool."
                  My whole life, I've felt like an animal......but I've ignored my instincts. I ignored what I really am. That will never happen again.

                  My blog

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                  • #10
                    Geez, I wish i had some height, I am 5'3 male here

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Darthash View Post
                      Geez, I wish i had some height, I am 5'3 male here
                      I feel your pain - 5'4" here.

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                      • #12
                        5'6" over here
                        My whole life, I've felt like an animal......but I've ignored my instincts. I ignored what I really am. That will never happen again.

                        My blog

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                        • #13
                          Here's a chart showing height (and lifespan - that's interesting too!) at different points in history:
                          http://www.beyondveg.com/nicholson-w...-1984-1a.shtml

                          I saw Spencer Wells use it in a seminar and had to find it for myself.

                          The good news is, we're almost back up to our pre-agriculture heights now. =] Although that last measurement (and probably the few before it) are just caucasians.. I wonder if it would be similar if they had included more populations.
                          "mayness, you need to have a siggy line that says "Paleo Information Desk" or something!" -FMN <3

                          I'm blogging again, at least a little bit.

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                          • #14
                            My family isn't.

                            My fraternal grandparents were about 5'6" (born and raised in Germany) while my father is 6'. Mothers maternal grandfather was 6' and his two sons are 6'3"/6'4", my mother was 5'9" which even now is somewhat tall, my grandfather was I believe a 2nd generation Canadian already. I'm the tallest of 3 sons at 6'7" while my two older brothers are 6'4" and 6'1".

                            Not exactly sure if my children will continue the trend because I married into a shorter family (wife is 5'6")
                            I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.

                            Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe

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                            • #15
                              Here's what Fathead says about it...

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