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October 15, 1938

Current Comment

JAMA. 1938;111(16):1472. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790420052017

HEIGHT OF AMERICAN WOMEN  The common impression that the typical American woman has been growing taller has been subjected to a recent brief analysis.1 Women accepted for "standard" insurance by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company between 1922 and 1934 showed an average height (with shoes) of 5 feet 41/2 inches (162.7 cm.) in middle adult life when full growth had been attained. This figure is identical with that obtained in two earlier life insurance studies based on the material of several companies covering the years 1885-1908 and 1909-1927. There is, however, some evidence that women in the younger ages insured in 1932 and 1935 had a greater average height than those insured in 1920-1923, so that future averages may change. Although these "averages" argue against an increase in height in recent years, they are not in conformity with the observations of Bowles on the heights of college graduates of