Britain is at risk of becoming the short man of Europe as a landmark study has revealed that UK teenagers are not growing at the same rate as those in other countries because of a poor diet.
In the first study of its kind, researchers have found that the global height ranking of 19-year-old British boys and girls has worsened over the past 35 years.
Boys have fallen from 28th tallest in the world, with an average height of 176.4cm in 1985, to 39th in 2019, with an average height of 178.2cm. Meanwhile, 19-year-old girls have dropped from 42nd place, with an average height of 162.7cm, to 49th, measuring at 163.9cm.
In Europe, 19-year-old boys in Belgium, France and Poland have, on average, become taller than those in the UK over the past three decades, while Irish girls overtook 19-year-old British women in the continent’s height rankings.
China saw the biggest improvement in the average height of its children compared to all other countries in the world, recording the largest gain for boys and third largest for girls.
Researchers of the study, which was published in The Lancet, pointed to poor diet and high BMI as a factor that has hindered the growth rate of British teenagers.
“It really comes down to nutrition,” Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London, senior author of the study, told The Telegraph.