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Americans are Becoming Shorter Compared to Other Nationalities

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Americans have, on average, become shorter, compared to their peers around the globe, a new study has found.

In 1914, American men ranked third tallest in the world, and women ranked fourth tallest. Today, they have fallen to 37th and 42nd place after reaching their maximum average height in 1996 and 1988, respectively, according to the BBC, which cited a new study published on Tuesday.

James Bentham and Majid Ezzati, both authors of the study from Imperial College, London, said the decline could be attributed to worsening nutrition standards for poor Americans, the New York Times reported. But they said immigration from countries with shorter citizens could also have played a role.

Dutch men now enjoy the tallest average height (6 feet), while women in Latvia are tallest on average at 5 feet, 7 inches.

The study, published in eLife, assessed the measured heights of 18.6 million people born between 1896 and 1996. It found that Iranian men and South Korean women experienced the largest height gains in the last century, according to the Times.

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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com