Statistically, the tallest people in the world, as measured by country are the Dutch. The average height for all adults for the Netherlands is 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m). This great leap in height is a huge change for Holland, where about 100 years ago, 25% of men who attempted to join the army were rejected as being too short, less than 62 inches (1.57 m) tall.
There are taller people belonging to certain populations within countries. This is especially true of the Maasai people, who live in parts of Tanzania and Kenya. But as a whole, the citizens living in the Netherlands are on average, the tallest people. Even people who have immigrated to the Netherlands from other parts of the world are taller on average than their racial groups in their countries of origin.
Standing next to the Dutch, almost shoulder to shoulder, are the Danes. Average height in Denmark is 6 feet (1.83 m). Americans, who once were the tallest people, have fallen in stature and are on average about 5 feet 9 inches (1.76 m) for men.
Researchers have attempted to account for what makes a certain country have the tallest people and conclude that factors for height include a combination of geneticsand nutrition. The Dutch, several hundred years ago, were some of the tallest people in the world. Uneven distribution of wealth, poor nutrition, and years of bad crops certainly contributed to keeping the Dutch shorter for many years. From a genetic standpoint, though, the Dutch could have been the tallest people sooner with appropriate nutrition, especially during early childhood years.
Those who study these statistics suggest that the Dutch emphasis on early childhood care, a diet rich in dairy products and thus high in protein, and a fairly even distribution of wealth have contributed to making the Dutch the world’s tallest people. In contrast, in America, pockets of poverty, which contribute to poor childhood nutrition and lack of available healthcare, as well as immigration of shorter racial groups to America, have resulted in a shorter average height.
Being the tallest people in the world is not without disadvantage. In recent years, the Dutch have had to make changes to building codes in order to provide taller doorframes, and more “height” friendly aspects to each new building and auto design. Further, the measurement is “average height” which means some people far exceed 6 feet 1 inch. Some people are significantly taller and may stand nearly 7 feet (2.13 m) tall, which can make traveling in the average car quite uncomfortable.