19 April 2005
BRUSSELS – Belgians are growing a lot faster – and getting a lot taller – than they used to.
They have been growing by an estimated average of one centimetre per decade for the past century, Belga news agency reported Tuesday.
Experts attribute the phenomenon to a richer diet and earlier onset of puberty.
Most Belgian girls now reach puberty by the age of 13 and are fully grown at 19.
Today, the average height of an adult male Belgian is 1.78metres, while the average height of an adult female is 1.66 metres.
The article did not give comparison figures for previous years.
Precise figures are however not available from the French-speaking community. A lack of funding has prevented the Walloon region from updating average height and weight ratios last set in 1985.
Flems are generally taller than their Francophone counterparts in Wallonia, mainly as a result of their different genetic backgrounds.
The Flemish are more closely related to the very tall Dutch, while the Walloons are more mixed with shorter Mediterranean peoples.
A region comprising modern Belgium and much of northwestern France was under Spanish rule from the mid-16th to early 18th centuries.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject : Belgian news