Dutch Men Are The Tallest In The World

Just a head's up

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You only have to spend ten minutes or so (yeah, right…) internet dating to realise that height still matters – particularly if you're a man.

Which is just one reason to be happy if you're Dutch: congratulations, you belong to the tallest group of men in the world.

A new study into height published in the journal eLife has tracked how average heights have changed in 187 countries since 1914.

And while our counterparts from Holland have the tallest average – hitting that sweet183cm (6ft) spot – UK men are no slouches, stacking up to a respectable 178cm (5ft 10in) average, up 11cm (4in) since the start of world war one.

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Women in Britain have grown by the same amount to 164cm (5ft 5in), while over the pond our American cousins has tumbled down the rankings from having the world's third tallest men in 1914 to only 37th today, after adding just a couple of inches to their height in that time.

The world's smallest men – and surely the most likely to be swiped left if they're honest in their Tinder bios – are from East Timor (160cm; 5ft 3in), while the shortest women are in Guatemala, as they have been since 1914. An average sized female there is 150cm (4ft 11in).

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All in all, Europe dominates the tallest men charts, but the biggest increases were in Asia. People in Japan, China and South Korea are much taller than they were 100 years ago.

The obvious question posed by all of these findings is: why?

Speaking to the BBC, Lead scientist Majid Ezzati: "About a third of the explanation could be genes, but that doesn't explain the change over time. Genes don't change that fast and they don't vary that much across the world. So changes over time and variations across the world are largely environmental. That's at the whole population level versus for any individual whose genes clearly matter a lot."

He went on toe cite standards of healthcare, sanitation and diet as key factors, as well as mother's health during pregnancy.

The nations with the tallest men in 2014 (1914 ranking in brackets):

1. Netherlands (12)

2. Belgium (33)

3. Estonia (4)

4. Latvia (13)

5. Denmark (9)

6. Bosnia and Herzegovina (19)

7. Croatia (22)

8. Serbia (30)

9. Iceland (6)

10. Czech Republic (24)

The nations with the tallest women in 2014 (1914 ranking in brackets):

1. Latvia (28)

2. Netherlands (38)

3. Estonia (16)

4. Czech Republic (69)

5. Serbia (93)

6. Slovakia (26)

7. Denmark (11)

8. Lithuania (41)

9. Belarus (42)

10. Ukraine (43)