Crash test dummies no longer suffice to prove that a car is safe: primarily due to the fact that we’re all fat now:
When Hybrid III was introduced in 1976 it was designed to represent the “average” American male: 1.8m (5ft 9in tall) and weighing 77kg (170lbs). Since then, the average American male has gained more than 11kg (25lbs) and is 2.5cm (1in) shorter.
The weight increase is fairly straightforward: due to lower cost of unhealthy foods in quantity. But I was intrigued by the loss of height. As it happens, it’s actually not quite true. The average height hasn’t gotten less, it’s just leveled out.
The reason, explains Leonard, is most Americans now face few nutritional or health-related stresses in their youth. People grow most as infants and then as adolescents, and most Americans have avoided disease and eaten enough meat and milk in their youth to reach their genetic height potentials.
Give it a couple of thousand years and we’ll all be lumbering around like giant obese pancakes.
Published on April 11th, 2013