jueves, 9 de julio de 2015

Why are the Dutch so tall?

The Dutch are, on average, the world's tallest people, but it hasn't always been that way. So what happened?
Jane O'Brien went to the Netherlands to find out more.

Self-study activity:
Watch this short BBC video clip and answer the questions below.

1 How tall was Astrid at 12?
2 What did she weigh at that age?
3 What is the reason why the Dutch are so tall, according to the latest research?
4 Why do the Dutch have a better chance of passing on their genes?
5 What other explanation is suggested for why the Dutch are so tall?
6 How tall do women have to be for the man interviewed in the street to find them attractive?

Astrid is 42 years old and the mother of twin boys. She also has very big feet.
Have you got some, sandals, new sandals.
Yeah, what size?
That’s because Astrid is Dutch, officially the world’s tallest nation. Under almost two meters, that’s 6 foot 6, Astrid is about the tallest.
I don’t mind it any more. (1) When I was 12 years old I was same height as now, so I was very tall, very skinny, at that time (2) I was 50 kilos.
Why the Dutch are so tall is something scientists are still debating. Other European nations have grown up too, but not nearly so fast.
2 metres 5.
(3) The latest research suggests height might have something to do with natural selection. Over the last 150 years. Dutch men have grown 20 cms. but Americans have only grown 6 cms. in the same period. Some studies show that tall Dutch people have more children, so (4) have a better chance of passing on their genes. But some much shorter scientists in the US say that that doesn’t explain the speed of growth.
We know that genetics predict that the Dutch would actually be the tallest people in Europe, and they’ve now achieved that, and some of it maybe that the Dutch have further to go than, say, the Americans did over the last 150 years, and so that may explain part of why they’ve grown so much, that they’ve had more genetic potential to achieve, so maybe it took them a little bit longer, they had more growing to do.
Every Friday crowds flock to the old town of Alkmaar to see the famous cheese market. (5) The high dairy diet is another possible explanation, all that calcium contributing to big bones. But there’s no getting away from that natural selection theory.
Do you find taller women more attractive than short women?
Yes, certainly.
How tall do they have to be?
(6) Minimum 1,80.
So, no hope for me.
No, sorry.
Whatever the reasons and there are probably many, the Dutch are having to adapt to the growth spurt. Doorways have to be higher and there’s a Dutch campaign to get more leg room on planes. That should be welcomed by everybody, tall and short. Jane O'Brien, BBC News, Alkmaar.