Study: poor diet affects height, and the average height difference among adolescents is as high as 20 cm

Poor diet among school-age children and adolescents may lead to a gap of about 20cm between the countries with the highest average height and the shortest, according to a study.

the team analyzed more than 2000 studies from 1985 to 2019 involving more than 65 million children and adolescents aged 5 to 19. The results show that the average height and weight of children and adolescents, as indicators of health and diet quality, vary greatly around the world.

the study found that in 2019, the average height of 19-year-old boys in the Netherlands, Montenegro, Estonia and BIH was the highest, while that of boys in East Timor, Laos and Papua New Guinea was the shortest; the average height of 19-year-old girls in the Netherlands, Montenegro, Denmark and Iceland was the highest, and that of girls in Guatemala, Bangladesh, Nepal and East Timor was the shortest.

in addition, the study also examined the body mass index (BMI). In some countries, children reach a healthy BMI at the age of five, but are likely to be overweight by the age of 19.

although researchers acknowledge that genes play an important role in children’s height and weight, they also say that nutrition and the environment are still key factors when it comes to the health of the entire population.

researchers believe that global nutrition policy mainly focuses on children under 5 years old, but research shows that more attention should be paid to the growth of older children and adolescents. Focus