General Question

Siren's avatar

Are children getting shorter/smaller every generation?

Asked by Siren (3414points) November 18th, 2008

Do you think children are getting smaller in stature each successive generation? Is there a link between the increase in obesity in American children and a size difference from previous generations, or it is all “relative”?

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24 Answers

peedub's avatar

I thought we were getting taller. What about men getting pregnant? And taco-neck syndrome, what’s up with that?

augustlan's avatar


shrubbery's avatar

I always think to myself “I swear I was never that small when I was that age” when I look at kids younger than me. But I think it’s just relative in that case…

DrasticDreamer's avatar

august: It’s from a Taco Bell ad. I asked too. Heh.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

To actually answer the question, though: I think they are. I have nothing to back it up with besides my own observation, but I know that a lot of guys around my dad’s age were generally around 6 feet, but guys in my generation top off at 5’10.

tigran's avatar

a lot of my friends are taller than their parents. Like way taller.

judochop's avatar

we are getting taller, less hair and yes I would say smarter. Ever see that alien autopsy? That’s where we are headed.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I just did quite a bit of research online and to actually answer the question accurately, I need to know what country you live in. If you’re from the US (your profile also mentions Canada, so I’m not sure) then as I said before, people are getting shorter.

American men used to literally tower over men from a lot of other nations. But statistically, year by year, Americans are getting shorter and shorter. We are now pretty far down then list for “tallest nation”. I know it’s true just based on men my dad’s age down. The average male height got consistently shorter the younger they got. I have no idea why I paid so much attention to it… Possibly because I’m way taller than average for a white, young female, so I quite literally stood out.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I honestly think that a lot of children are getting wider every generation. There’s no question that the United States is the most obese country on the planet and we really have no one but ourselves to blame for that.

peedub's avatar

I found this pretty easily- ”Average adult Americans are about one inch taller, but nearly a whopping 25 pounds heavier than they were in 1960, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” It seems to coincide with other info I’ve found stating that both Americans and Humans in general are getting taller.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I don’t know why my research conflicts so much with the last answer, but screw it. I’m too tired to think properly anymore.

All I know is that most males around my general age are far shorter than guys older than them. That’s my answer and I’m sticking to it. :P Who knows, maybe it’s just Oregon. Too much rain… Stunts growth. Something.

peedub's avatar

@DD- That’s just one article, who knows. Another I read stated we were getting shorter relative to Europeans. We’re certainly getting wider.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I’m interested to see when younger American males start to answer my question later. So far, the answers I’ve received go along with what I’ve personally noticed. And yeah, we’re definitely getting wider. I think I read that Australia is only 1% behind America for obesity, though.

simone54's avatar

My nephew is 10 years old and he comes up to my shoulders.

cdwccrn's avatar

I thought that people were getting taller, but perhaps that is based on very old research.
I know I have gotten heavier after children, stress, and a wonderful husband who for years made homemade cookies every night for a evening snack.

mea05key's avatar

im taller than my parents. some of my cousins are far taller than thier parents. Hardly any person that i know is shorter. there are some having equal height with thier parents though

Vincentt's avatar

People in the Netherlands have definitely been getting taller over the years – it’s been researched, and is noticeable. Then again, Dutch people are tallest of the world, so it might differ per country.

Heck, my father’s foreign, so I’m relatively short here, but when I’m in foreign countries (which could be as close as France) I feel much taller ;-).

Oh, by the way, apparently the Dutch people have reached there limit (read about a research that concluded that last week), so it’s not going on indefinitely.

Comedian's avatar

I don’t think the are shrinking but they probably are getting shorter. You should see the kids at my school. There backpacks are hanging as low as they can and sometimes only one shoulder. We also have really heavy textbooks which doesn,t help the problem. I go to the chiropracter and he told me to start wearing it up all the way. Ever since then I haven’t shrunk (nor grew) and my back feels great!

tinyfaery's avatar

I think it has a lot to do with racial and ethnic mixing. For instance, those of Latino origins tend to be smaller people. In LA at least, almost everyone I know has some
sort of Hispanic heritage. Just the fact that genes are mixing is dimnishing the tendency for certain races and ethnicities to have very telling traits: extreme height or lack there of, blondes and red heads, even the trsits of large noses and thick hair will eventually diminish.

asmonet's avatar

Nah, you just get bigger every year and then it evens out and you swear they keep shrinking the further removed you are from that age.

Siren's avatar

When I see teens and young adults on tv shows nowadays, they seem smaller and shorter (both genders). Maybe they’re just casting for the “petite” look. I’ve seen it in both genders. Maybe “cute” is in, and doesn’t reflect our nation as a whole?

Mr_M's avatar

I think as the races inter-mix, given enough time all people will be the same general height ranges all over the world. That WILL mean some nationalities will get shorter while others will get taller until that time.

crystaltears's avatar

I’ve noticed this too, and I live in Canada. Even my friends agreed about this XD

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

On the contrary, I am seeing each generation getting taller, and we have been going that way since the middle ages. My granny was 4’10”, my mother is 5’, I am 5’3”, my daughter is 5’6”, and my granddaughter is already 5’6” and not done growing yet.

Have you ever seen clothing, or say a suit of armor, in a museum. They are teenie-tiny and would fit a modern-day child.

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