Average height of Japanese born in 1980 or later is declining, study finds
Japan Times -- Feb 13
While the average height of Japanese adults had grown some 15 cm (nearly 6 inches) over the past century with improved nutrition and public health conditions, it has started to decline for those born in 1980 or later, recent research has shown.

A research team at the National Center for Child Health and Development in Tokyo analyzed data on some 3.15 million adults in Japan and concluded the declining trend in average height may be attributed to increases in low-birth-weight infants in the country, or those who weighed 2,500 grams (5.5 pounds) or lighter at birth.

The findings by Naho Morisaki and other researchers were published last year in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

According to the study, the height of an average Japanese adult peaked for those born in 1978 and 1979 at 171.4 cm (5.6 feet) for men and 158.5 cm (5.2 feet) for women, while the figures for those born in 1996 stood at 170.82 cm for men and 158.31 cm for women — 0.64 cm and 0.21 cm shorter than peak levels, respectively.

The researchers found “a strong inverse correlation” between the rate of low-birth-weight infants and adult height. While the decline of the average height started among people born in 1980 or later, the number of low-birth-weight babies sharply increased since around that time.

News source: Japan Times
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