Illustration: Carolina Robles
Researchers from the University of Potsdam argue that height is determined by both biological and social factors.
By: Laura Puentes
Those who know me in person know that I am a short woman, which I like very much, but I have always thought that my short stature is due to the fact that my mother and part of my maternal family are short.
However, a study published in the American Journal of Human Biology reveals that in addition to genetic factors, diet and health conditions, elements such as the social, political and emotional state that surrounds them also influence growth retardation. of the person
This is pointed out by Christiane Scheffler , a human biology researcher at the University of Potsdam and one of the authors of the study, who argues that height is determined by both biological and social factors.
The study based its methodology on the analysis of archaeological data from almost 6,100 skeletons, historical growth studies ranging from 1877 to 1913 from some European countries, in addition to the United States, and a study of children from Indonesia.
The sample of this study in the Asian country was made up of 1,666 students from six rural and urban schools. This nation, according to the research data, is among the first places on the list according to the World Bank’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), therefore, it is not considered a poor country. Also, another important factor is that Indonesia has a child growth prevalence of 37.2 percent.
This article points out that at the time of prehistoric man in the Holocene of the Near East and Europe, males did not exceed 1.65 – 1.70 meters, while females did not exceed 1.60.
In statistics presented on the World Data portal, the average height of men in Spain is 1.76 centimeters and women reach 1.62. Meanwhile, Mexicans are generally shorter, men reaching an average of 1.70 and women 1.57.
Greater tranquility, greater height
For Carlos Varea, a bioanthropologist at the Autonomous University of Madrid, some populations have grown more than others because they have an environment of greater economic tranquility, since they do not depend on crops or traditional means of subsistence.
“This makes them grow in more stable environments and that is what enhances growth. This contact with cultures favors this forecast of a better future”, according to what Varea shared for the El País newspaper.
In addition, the researcher emphasizes the importance of emotional factors , which the author of the aforementioned study also contemplates in the investigation, which are transmitted in the family and social sphere.
“The potential to grow is the same for everyone, but there are nutritional limiting factors, cold, child and emotional effort, violence or abuse that limit that growth,” explains researcher Carlos.
A clear example of what the researchers propose can be observed in African-American populations, where there is a perception of racism and discrimination that affects growth , which they point out could be greater if these social limitations did not exist.
Other scientists have looked into the genetic question, where an international group examined a sample of 250,000 people’s genomes. In which they managed to identify 697 genetic variants that affect people’s height.
So if one day you are told if you are too tall or too short, remember that around your height there are various emotional, genetic and social factors that scientists continue to study.