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《TAIPEI TIMES》Taiwanese on average growing taller, survey says

High-schoolers leave after completing their college entrance exams at a school in Taipei on Jan. 14 last year.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

High-schoolers leave after completing their college entrance exams at a school in Taipei on Jan. 14 last year. Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

2024/06/11 03:00

FEMALE SURGE: Women on average have grown taller due to a changing lifestyle, as they become more active and exercise more, a pediatrician said

By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

The average height of Taiwanese adults of both genders has increased over the past few years, with the exception of two single-age groups: 18-year-old males and 15-year-old females, the latest data from the Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan showed.

The latest report, covering 2017 to 2020, showed that the average height of women and men aged 19 or older climbed to 157.0cm and 169.3cm respectively, compared with 156.8cm and 168.7cm in the previous report from 2013 to 2016.

A breakdown showed that the average height of all adult age groups — 19 to 44 years old, 45 to 64 years old, and 65 years and older — followed the same pattern of growth.

The pattern is also the same in nearly all single-age groups of teenagers aged 13 to 18, with two exceptions — the average height of 18-year-old males was 173.3cm between 2013 and 2016, but dropped to 172.1cm between 2017 and 2020, while the average height of 15-year-old females slid from 160.5cm to 159.4cm in the two reports.

The sample sizes of the two single-aged group in both reports were relatively low at 41 to 79 people, compared with the sample size for other age groups of more than 1,500.

Citing the survey, a Chinese-language United Daily News article noted that the average height of 18-year-old Taiwanese males “shrank” by 1.2cm, while the average height of their female counterparts rose from 160.7cm in the 2013-2016 report to 161.2cm in the 2017-2020 report.

Taiwan Pediatric Association chairman Lee Hung-chang (李宏昌), a pediatrician at Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei, said in the article that based on his clinical observations, Taiwanese females have grown taller in recent years, which might be attributed to women exercising more.

In the past, girls were mostly taught to be gentle and docile, and encouraged to do indoor activities only, he said.

However, as Taiwanese break free of gender stereotypes, more girls are exercising and eating a balanced diet, leading to them growing taller, Lee said.

There is a rising trend of adolescents being brought to clinics for mental consultations due to heavy stress and being diagnosed with endocrine disorders, which affect the growth hormones, he said.

Taiwan Pediatric Association member Peng Chun-chih (彭純芝) said there are many factors that determine an adult’s final height, and medical experts suspect that environmental hormones could be one of them, but the evidence is not yet conclusive.

Childhood obesity is another problem due to poor, unhealthy diets, prolonged use of digital devices, staying up late and other factors that might affect children’s growth hormones, the report cited Peng as saying.

The survey was commissioned by the Health Promotion Administration to establish a long-term regular monitoring system to better understand public health and nutrition to use as a reference for drafting healthcare policies.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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