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Height and health in late eighteenth-century England.

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

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Abstract

Adult stature has become a widely used indicator of childhood nutritional status in historical populations and may provide insights into health inequalities that are not discernible in mortality rates. However, most pre-twentieth-century British data on heights suffer from selection biases. Here we present unique evidence on heights of adult males by occupation from an unbiased sample of adult males in Dorset in 1798-99. The mean height of fully grown (married) men was very similar to that of older military recruits, and our sample therefore confirms the taller stature of English males relative to males of other European countries in the same period. In contrast to previous evidence of negligible or U-shaped socio-economic gradients in mortality in this period, we found a fairly linear gradient in height by socio-economic status, that is similar in magnitude to class differences in adult height among English males born in the mid-twentieth century.Supplementary material for this article is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00324728.2020.1823011.

Description

Keywords

anthropometry, eighteenth century, health inequality, height, historical demography, industrial revolution, militia, nutritional status, socio-economic status, Adult, Body Height, England, Europe, Humans, Male, Marriage, Social Class, Socioeconomic Factors

Journal Title

Popul Stud (Camb)

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0032-4728
1477-4747

Volume Title

75

Publisher

Informa UK Limited

Rights

All rights reserved
Sponsorship
Wellcome Trust (103322/Z/13/Z)