Poor diet may be why there is an average gap of 20cm between the world's tallest and shortest children. Researchers analysed the Body Mass Index (BMI) of millions of children and teenagers worldwide. They looked at their height and weight. The world's tallest teenagers were 183cm and lived in the Netherlands; the shortest were 160cm and lived in East Timor. European children were the tallest. The shortest lived in Asia, Latin America and East Africa.
The comprehensive study looked at data from 65 million children aged five to 19 years old in 193 countries. The team warned that a lack of quality food and nutrition was a major factor behind slower growth and obesity. Better diets increased the height of children in China. Nineteen-year-old boys there were 8cm taller in 2019 than in 1985. The report suggested countries adopt policies that encouraged healthier eating, but to be aware of weight gain.