Did you know that Belgian men are the second tallest in the world?


At an average height of 1.82 metres Belgian men are only one place off being the world's tallest men. Furthermore they are just 1 cm shorter than their Dutch neighbours. Belgian men have had quite a growth spurt. Indeed, 100 years ago they were 15 cm shorter, back then achieving only 33rd place.

Belgian women on the other hand rank much lower than their male counterparts: they are on average 1.66 metres tall, putting them in just 20th position.

Researchers at the scientific magazine eLife analysed data from 200 countries, and mapped out the average height per nationality over the last 100 years (1914-2014). The research involved 1,400 studies using data from 18.6 million people. As a parameter people's heights were recorded at the age of 18 years, around the time that most people stop growing.

Being tall is linked to a longer life, lower risk of miscarriage, cardiovascular and respiratory complaints and certain forms of cancer. There is also scientific proof that tall people enjoy higher levels of education, and even a bigger salary and greater status in society. Although height is one of the most hereditary human characteristics, other factors, namely foetal growth, food and infections during childhood and adolescence, are considered very important in adult height.