Not just a tall story: the Dutch really are shrinking, statistics agency confirms

Poorer diet may explain why the lofty lowlanders are at least 1cm shorter than the previous generation

It is, perhaps, with just a hint of satisfaction that the Dutch office for national statistics has confirmed that the men and women of the Netherlands remain the tallest people on the planet. But the government’s statisticians have had cause to report a further potentially humbling twist: the Dutch are shrinking.

For the last six decades, the people of the lowlands have stood imperiously at the top of the world height league table, with the latest data suggesting the average 19-year-old man stood at just over 6ft tall (182.9cm) in 2020, while women born in the same year measured in at 5ft 6 in (169.3cm).

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