When it comes to height, Dutch men and Latvian women tower over all other nationalities, a study reveals.

The average Dutchman is now 183cm (6ft) tall, while the average Latvian woman reaches 170cm (5ft 7in).

Indeed, Americans have tumbled down the rankings. Back in 1914, they had the third tallest men and fourth tallest women on the planet. Today they are in 37th and 42nd place.

The height charts are now utterly dominated by European countries…

The smallest men on the planet are to be found in East Timor (160cm; 5ft 3in).

The world’s smallest women are in Guatemala,… Today she has still not quite reached 150cm (4ft 11in).

Some of the variation in height across the globe can be explained by genetics … DNA cannot be the dominant factor.

Good standards of healthcare, sanitation, and nutrition were the key drivers… Also important is the mother’s health and nutrition during pregnancy.

Tall people tend to have a longer life expectancy, with a reduced risk of heart disease. On the other hand, there is some evidence that they are at greater risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal, postmenopausal breast and ovarian cancers.

Source: Dutch men revealed as world’s tallest – BBC News