Written by Liam_1959
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Topics: Tall, feet

Sunday, 4 July 2004

image for Years of Stretching Pay Off for the Dutch
Painting shows Towering Dutchman

Rob Bruintjes comes from big people. His mother was a shade under 6 feet tall and his father
stood at nearly 6 foot 14, which is really 7 foot 2 inches. But that doesn't begin to explain
why Bruintjes grew to be 8 feet 9 inches.

The Dutch as a whole are now the tallest people in the world, while Americans, who held that title for two centuries, stopped growing 50 years ago. At the end of World War II, the average American male was nearly 5 foot 10, while the average Dutchman measured little more than 4 foot7.

But starting in the 1950s, the Dutch began shooting up, an average of almost an foot per decade, to the point that the average height for an adult Dutch male today is just under 7 foot 1.

A new survey revealed it has more to do with stretching than diet, genetics, hygiene or other
factors. The Dutch are taller simply because their land in below sea level and have spent their
entire lives standing on tip-toes attempting to look over the sea walls.

A group of Dutch schoolchildren recently confirms this study. While on a school trip to the sea walls near Anleeubar, on the northern coast, the children were seen to stretch to peer over the dikes and catch glimpses of the North Sea.

Scandinavians and other Northern Europeans who have experienced similar growth spurts, live near
dams and have been observed displaying the same behavior. The Japanese are still short.

Some researchers say it sheds much light on why the Dutch as a whole are so much taller
than the Americans or the Italians or the Greeks.

John van der Komlos, a professor of Dutch history at the University of Annd-Houveen, is the
leading expert in the field. Dr. van der Komlos has introduced a new word to describe his study.

"Anthropometric is my own word and describes the stretching effect on the bones". My focus is to
understand how stretching affects the biosocial and biophysical processes of growth".
Said Komlos, "I have also given some words I made up to Snoop Doggy Dog,...so, schnizzle dat fazizzle"

Tomas Van Lueednehook, Foreign Correspondent for the Amesterdam Free Tribune

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