Height is a sexually dimorphic character in humans (i.e. where the two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics). India is very diverse and has lots of socio-economic groups. Some Indians are tall and some are short. Overall, the average heights of Indian men and women were 165 and 152 cm respectively with fair increase of 0.50 and 0.22 cm per decade, respectively. In this report we are going to briefly study why Indian males have an average heigh.

GENETICS

About 60 to 80 percent of the difference in height between individuals is determined by genetic factors, whereas 20 to 40 percent can be attributed to environmental effects. Human height depends upon multiple genes. And it has been observed that when genes and growth hormones both interact synergistically it affect height. In developed countries nutrition for childhood development is strong, which maximizes the genetic potential for height assuming no selection and mutation. In developed countries people have good height and they are not nutrition deficits so their heritability is 80 percent higher than developing countries. The Disease also affects the height like Down syndrome, turner syndrome and Williams syndrome, Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition that occurs when an error in cell division results in an extra chromosome affects physical and mental health. Bone and skeleton diseases like rickets may also change stature and affect height.

NUTRITION

If we see the consumption patterns for other animal-source foods, such as eggs, fish, chicken, and meat, it was observed that the other state had the highest consumption percentage in comparison to the northern states. It is believed that malnutrition during childhood may result in delayed growth and therefore height. Since 23 percent of the population comes under below poverty line category plus the majority are vegetarian, the height statistics would go down. 

The most important nutrient for final height is a protein in childhood. Minerals, in particular calcium, and Vitamin A and D also influence height. The boys will reach maximum height in their late teens, whereas girls reach in their mid-teens. Thus, adequate nutrition before puberty is crucial for height.

POVERTY

Human height development depends upon nutritional quality and health, as poor people will suffer from malnutrition which will have a reduction in stature or height. The increasing gap in height trends between rich and poor people is associated with an increasing gap in nutrition. Economically weaker sections with low income and food deficiency will likely widen the gap in nutrition and therefore in height and health between rich and poor countries. So, food security will be the key to provide proper nutrition to weaker section and will be the key to narrow down the gap between rich and poor people in India in height and health. on an average, an 18-year-old child belonging to an upper-income family is about 4.5 cm taller than in previous years.

LIFESTYLE

People in the shortest height category (men shorter than 162 cm and women shorter than 151 cm) reported that they experience a significantly lower quality of life than people of normal height. Regular exercise is also important for normal physical development. Playing outside or taking part in sports makes your bones healthier, denser, and stronger. And the study says that 1 out of 2 Indian men or women exercises regularly. While 1 in 5 follows a specific diet. It is important that people should follow diet and exercise simultaneously as both of them are really important to get a good height.

CLIMATE

The largest differences in the height of men and women were observed in relation to the state of residence, with men and women from the northern states being tallest and those from the northeastern states shortest. We can explain this shorter height of northeastern by Allen and Bergmann’s rules tell us that warm-blooded animals in very cold climates tend to be more compact, with short appendages, and the people live in north Indian Closer to the equator, animals tend to be lean and tall with long limbs, encouraging heat to escape and cool their bodies. 

As you have seen all the five reasons are interlink so if we need to tackle this problem of height, we should start with poverty to solve all the problems.

If you enjoyed this have a look at my previous post.

Reference:

Mamidi, R.S., Kulkarni, B. and Singh, A., 2011. Secular trends in height in different states of India in relation to socioeconomic characteristics and dietary intakes. Food and Nutrition Bulletin32(1), pp.23-34.

Peñuelas, J., Janssens, I.A., Ciais, P., Obersteiner, M., Krisztin, T., Piao, S. and Sardans, J., 2017. Increasing gap in human height between rich and poor countries associated to their different intakes of N and P. Scientific reports7(1), pp.1-10.

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