Full text: Problems in eugenics

24Section I.S. Hansen. 
table (XXV.) showing the average stature and weight of boys in the York 
Friends’ School for 27 years, 1853-1879. An examination of the first of 
these tables indicates a slight but uniform increase in stature and a very 
large increase in weight at corresponding ages. In the second table the 
general run of the figures is very uniform, the statures remaining stationary, 
while there is a slight improvement in the weight of the higher ages in 
the last nine years of the period. The difference between the poor and 
badly nourished factory children and the York boys living under most 
favourable conditions (Quakers) is very considerable. At the commence­ 
ment of the two periods the stature of the former group was at the cor­ 
responding ages from 3 to 5 inches and the weight from 12 to 20 pounds 
below that of the latter. It is evident, that the general improvement of 
the social and economic conditions of factory children, that had taken place 
just in this period, had been able to improve their physical condition far 
more than the slight change possible in the always favourable conditions of 
the York Quaker boys could do. 
It is much to be regretted, that such material is exceedingly scarce in 
England, where the measurements of recruits for the army and navy are of 
doubtful value. In other countries the conscription lists contain a rich 
source of information on this subject, and leave no doubt about the general 
increase of the stature. In my own country the Danish Anthropological 
Committee finds, that the height of the fully grown Dane has in the course 
of the last 50 years undergone the following changes :— 
1852-1856 ... ... ... 165.42 cm. 
1879-1888 ... ... ... 167.78 cm. 
1891-1900 ... ... ... 168.43 cm. 
1904-1905 ... ... ... 169.11 cm. 
The average height has thus gone up by 3.69 cm. and apparently the 
increase has been steady and even throughout the whole period. The adult 
Dane has increased in height by 0.07 cm. yearly. 
In Sweden and Norway the increase is undoubtedly the same as in Den­ 
mark. The conscription lists in these countries show an increase of only about 
2 centimetres from the middle of last century, but they do not contain the 
measurements of the undersized for the first periods. A corresponding 
increase in height may also be found in other countries. The average 
stature of the Dutch has increased from 165.5 cm. in 1866 to 167 in 1883 
and 168 in 1899. The increase in the Netherlands seems to be still greater 
than in the Scandinavian countries, and is said to have been nearly 10 centi­ 
metres in the last 50 years. The Dutch anthropologist, Z. Bolk, who has 
paid much attention to this subject, is inclined to believe, that this con­ 
siderable increase is too great to be due only to the general improvement 
of the social and economic conditions of life. He supposes that the former 
low stature indicates a transitory state of deterioration and that the increase 
is to be regarded partly as a sign of recovery from this state. I believe

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