Belgians getting taller

A study carried out by Brussels’ Francophone Free University (ULB) reveals that Belgians are getting taller. Since 1880, the average height of people living in our country has increased by around 1cm per decade. Improved living standards over the years have caused us to shoot up.

In 1880 the average Belgian man was 1.66m tall. The average male height now is 1.78m.

Women have grown from an average height of 1.53m in 1880 to 1.65m in 2011.

Professor Martine Vercauteren says that not only are we getting taller, but youngsters are now becoming fully-grown much earlier.

Young men now stop growing at around the age of 19. In the nineteenth century, males carried on growing until they were 25. Children are also growing more quickly.

An average three-year-old in 2011 is as tall as an average five-year-old in 1830.

"For a long time we believed that we were getting taller due to genetic factors such as the widening of the gene pool. However, this doesn’t appear to be the case.”

"Living standards have played a far greater role.” “Better medical care and a more varied diet are things that really make a difference."

However, it will be some time yet before average heights top 2 metres. The increase in average heights has slowed down in recent years.

Professor Vercauteren says that this can be attributed to pollution and improper practices in some sectors of the food industry.

Top stories