Growing taller, living longer? Anthropometric history and the future of old age

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    In recent years, economic and social historians have made increasing use of
    anthropometric records (principally, records of human height and weight) to
    investigate changes in human health and well-being. This paper summarises
    some of the main ®ndings of this research and demonstrates the remarkable
    increases in human height which have occurred during the course of the
    present century. The paper also examines the relationship between changes in
    average height and changes in life expectancy. Although most of the evidence
    assembled by anthropometric historians has been derived from records
    relating to schoolchildren and young adults, their work has profound
    implications for the study of health in old age. The concluding section
    examines the relevance of this work to current debates on the decline of
    mortality, the `compression of morbidity' and the future of social policy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)491-512
    Number of pages22
    JournalAgeing and Society
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


    • growing taller
    • living longer
    • anthropometric history
    • old age
    • longevity
    • anthropometry


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