Eighty-two people dating from 1975 to 1879 compared with 182 modern middle-class White and Black skeletons test the myths of radical changes produced by improved diet, less disease, and nineteenth century immigration. Longevity increases and health and growth improvement is clearest in reduced juvenile deaths (census data) and deepening of true pelvis. Stature increase is minimal (though seventeenth century Londoners and modern West Africans are shorter than Colonial to Modern Americans); teeth deteriorate and for cultural reasons fractures increase. Clavicles and forearms elongate.
In February 1985, in Bethesda, MD, the National Institutes of Health held a Consensus Development Conference on the Health Implications of Obesity. Nineteen experts in pertinent subject areas presented the current state of the art to a panel of 15 senior-level professionals. On the basis of the scientific evidence presented and its discussion by the audience, the panel formulated a "consensus statement" of findings and recommendations in the form of a narrative reply to six key questions focused on the health implications of obesity.
Current nutrition theory holds that maximization of human growth and stature is a desired anthropometric outcome. However, some evidence demonstrates that lower energy intakes may actually confer a degree of future protection against degenerative processes, particularly atherosclerosis and cancer.
The principal objective of this paper is to provide health practitioners with information on the positive aspects of shorter stature for use in counseling short children with poor self-images. Another objective is to provide information on the physical capabilities, health potential and psychosocial characteristics of shorter stature as a baseline for deciding whether a healthy short child should receive growth hormone therapy.
Life expectancy, mortality and longevity data related to height and body size for various US and world population samples are reviewed. Research on energy restriction, smaller body size and longevity is also examined. Information sources include various medical and scientific journals, books and personal communications with researchers. Additional information is presented based on research involving eight populations of the world noted for their health, vigor and longevity. This information includes the findings of one of the authors who led research teams to study these populations.
Secular growth has been occurring in Europe for about 150 years. In the USA, since 1900, each new generation has increased by an average of 1in (2.54cm) in height and about 10lb (4.54kg) in weight. This trend has generally been viewed as favorable and tallness is admired, with the current ideal height for a man in the Western world being 6ft 2in (188cm). The Japanese have increased in height since the end of the Second World War by about 5in (12.7cm) in height and the Chinese have been growing at the rate of 2.54cm/decade since the 1950s.