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Editorial

Not always bigger and healthier

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By EMN Updated: Sep 03, 2013 10:32 pm
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[dropcap]A[/dropcap] news report by various agencies the world over and datelined London (UK) has stated that the average height of European men had grown by 11 centimeters, or 4.3 inches, from the early 1870s to 1980. This has reflected significant improvements in health across the region, according to a new research published on Monday (September 2).
What is notable is that average height accelerated during the period and that too, at a time when poverty, food rationing and hardship of war ought to have limited people’s physical growth. According to the researchers in this connection which shows the average height of a European male growing from 167 cms to 170cms in a little over a century, have suggested that an environment of improving and decreasing disease is the most driving factor in increasing the height.From this it follows that increases in human stature are a key indicator of improvements in the average height of populations, according to Professor of economics Timothy Hutton in the University of Essex who led the research. The study analysed data on average men’s height at 21 years from the 1870s to 1980 in 15 European countries.
The study happened to only look at men because data on women’s heights were hard to come by. The data on men in recent decades were mainly taken on men from height to weight surveys. Earlier, the analysis used data for the heights of military conscripts and recruits. Although the average height of men had increased in just over a century, there were differences from country to country in Europe.
In many European countries including Britain and Ireland, the Scandinavian countries, Netherlands and Germany, there was a “distinct quickening” in the pace of advance during the two World Wars and the Great Depression,
This was striking because the period largely predates the wide implementation of major breakthroughs in modern medicine and national health services.
Now this evinces the desire to study the Nagas even more. To know who or what they were, when cowrie shells were used to indicate a man’s position in the society.
What would be a point of interest is to know if the height of the average Naga has increased, or has at all been affected by his experience in recent decades, the political uncertainty and the overwhelming pace of change in lifestyle. Perhaps it has, or even decreased, but it is for the researchers to inform us. By appearance at least it seems that the height and size of the present day generation seems to have decreased and those well-built Nagas have reduced in proportion.
In the case of Naga women, there was a time when mothers, aunts and even grandmothers were of formidable physical build but majority of our young women seem to have reduced in size. Is it due to the modern lifestyle?
A survey on these lines could also throw valuable data which will indicate what we have to concentrate on to maintain a proper balance between the old and the new.

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By EMN Updated: Sep 03, 2013 10:32:08 pm