The African enigma: the mystery of tall African adults despite low national incomes revisited

Hirvonen, Kalle and Moradi, Alexander (2015) The African enigma: the mystery of tall African adults despite low national incomes revisited. In: Komlos, John and Kelly, Inas Rashad (eds.) Handbook of Economics and Human Biology. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 9780199389292

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Abstract

African adult populations are remarkably tall for the low income levels that prevail at the country level. The average African woman is about 158.5 cm tall, whereas the low gross domestic product per capita would lead us to expect a mean height more similar to the shortest populations in the world, about 4 cm shorter. This is the case in spite of the fact that indicators of socioeconomic status and height are positively correlated within each country. The chapter also shows that the physical stature of African children fit well into the global income–height relationship. Hence, we conclude that the anomaly in the income–height nexus at country level appears to originate between childhood and adulthood. We present evidence for considerable catch-up growth involving entire populations. We discuss possible reasons for this catch-up growth including genetics, and, above all, better nutrition and health conditions during adolescence.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Economics
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Depositing User: Alexander Moradi
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 14:18
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2016 14:18
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/59219
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