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Err, yes?

Height is only 40pc hereditary – the rest is nurture
Study finds nurture-based traits like environment, upbringing and quality of life has greater influence over how tall a person becomes

We’ve known that for a long, long, time. Soldiers being 6 inches shorter than officers in 1914 for example. Childhood nutrition and stunting.

Even, that it’s very difficult to tell social class in the UK from height these days. Something that wasn’t true that 100 years ago.

And here in Southern Europe you can still tell social class – not exactly, obviously – from height in the older generations. Different generations in different countries too – the inability to tell coinciding with the arrival of adequate childhood nutrition for all. That leap off point in economic development. Perhaps the 1960s for Southern Italy, the 1980s even for Portugal.

That we know more of the details now is nice but the basic idea is old, old.

17 thoughts on “Err, yes?”

  1. Don’t worry Tim. Getting rid of chemical fertilisers, organic agriculture, all energy provided by slaves instead of ghastly petrol engines.

    We’ll go back to the good old days when you could tell the peasants from the nobs soon enough.

  2. it’s very difficult to tell social class in the UK from height these days

    But you can often tell social class from width, especially amongst the young.

  3. Not even as far back as the 80s. Friend of mine’s just over 5 foot. I was surprised when I met her older brother & two sisters to find they were more normal height. Then a conversation with her revealed her father walked out on her mother when she was pregnant with her. That was ’92 when Spain’s social safetynet was still full of holes.* Still, every cloud has a silver one, doesn’t it? She is an absolute little stunner. Like having your own walking talking Barbie doll hanging about.

    *Mum made ends meet by carrying a cooler box up & down the beach at Torremolinos flogging cold drinks to tourists for years. And she’s not bigger than her daughter. Now a semi-invalid with severe back problems.It’s one of the things irritates me about Spain. One deals with the Spanish at the bottom of the heap & one’s surprised what industrious strivers they can be. It’s the middle classes are the lazy cnuts with the glaring sense of entitlement are the ruin of its economy. But I’m not sure that isn’t just as true of the UK. Although the benefits system does tend to instil middle class ethics into those you’re required to refer to as the unwaged.

  4. Tolkien based hobbits on the working-class soldiers he served with in WW1. Apart from the feet, probably….

    Talking of drivers of height, I have a friend with two daughters, both in their late teens. The eldest went vegan aged around 14. She is now at least four inches shorter than her younger sibling.

  5. No. 100% hereditary. Can you grow a dwarf by better food?

    Genetic coding is a blueprint. Genetic coding for short stature people does not allow then to exceed the height determined by their code no matter how well nourished.

    Genetic coding for tall stature people does not mean their full height will be achieved without proper nutrition.

    We did used to know this, like we used to know masks, lockdowns cannot stop a pathogen once it is circulating in a population, and we used to know it is impossible to produce effective vaccines against RNA viruses which respiratory viruses are (see also Foot & Mouth Disease). Influenza ‘vaccines’ are just a promotional exercise to boost profits and, placebo for easily frightened idiots – of which no short supply.

  6. To produce a serendipitous mashup of height and COVID, there’s a paper out there suggesting the gene for enhanced immune system suppresses height. Hence pygmies, because running around the rain forest exposes you to more shit than running around the savannah. Science, eh?

  7. Trying to work that out RlJ. So the next generation’s going to be three foot tall or nine? If the former, the reduced consumption needs should help in reaching Net Zero on target. Some sort of government plot?

  8. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    But only in the older generations. Back when I lived in the Most Serene Republic, before moving to the Holy Roman Reich, I had a landlord considerably shorter than me (which takes some doing). His grandson, who did all the legwork, played professional basketball. And was on the Italian national squad.

  9. Indeed so. I was 8, living in La Bella Napoli back in the early 1970s. Those 15 and so on were taller than their paeents, much so than their grandparents.

  10. Have I got this right? The gap in average height between men and women is only 40% due to genetics and is 60% due to girls dieting?

  11. The clearest modern example is the difference in average height between North and South Koreans. They were part of the same country until the 1940s and still have many cultural similarities. But people in the North are measurably shorter on average because of poverty and malnutrition in childhood.

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