Full text: Problems in eugenics

26Section I.S. Hansen. 
and better material and of scrutinizing this material critically. The study 
of the body form and size of man must begin at birth and continue 
throughout the whole life. Best known nowadays are the bodily condi­ 
tions of school children, which have been studied in recent years in all 
civilised countries. A series of measurements made 25 years ago in some 
Danish country schools has enabled us to determine the increase of stature 
and chest girth in precisely the same districts and the same social layers. The 
average stature of sons of cottagers has in this period increased by 0.7 cm., 
that of the daughters by 2 cm., while the stature of sons of farmers has 
decreased by 0.7 c.m., and that of the daughters increased by 0.5 cm. The 
average chest measurement of sons of cottagers has increased by 2.9 cm., 
and that of sons of farmers by 3.4 cm. In Denmark we are continuing 
these investigations on a large scale and the Anthropological Committee has 
already brought together measurements of many thousands of children and 
adult persons at all ages and of both sexes. Material of an earlier date 
is scarce in Denmark as everywhere; we are in possession, however, of 
several valuable collections and are in search of more. 
It is permissible to believe that the increase of stature during the school 
age is a great deal due to the progress of school hygiene. The deve­ 
lopment of all kinds of bodily exercise that has taken place in the last 
decades must have had a considerable influence on the growth of the 
children. The extensive investigations carried on in America and elsewhere 
seem to prove that this is really the case, but such investigations must be 
continued. The materials for studying the agencies that may improve the 
racial qualities are here easily available. 
Far more difficult is the task of procuring reliable and sufficient measure­ 
ments of full-grown persons. The scrutiny of the conscription lists has 
taught us much about the bodily development of young men, but we 
know nothing, or at all events very little, about the average stature and 
weight or advanced age. The statistical data of the life insurance societies 
show that the averages are considerably higher in the later age-classes, but 
here a selection has taken place. The material does not contain the rejected 
and it is to be supposed that insured persons are, on the whole, higher and 
heavier than the uninsured. This subject is, however, very intricate. The 
very tall and very heavy are probably to be found among the uninsured, 
for the societies are generally suspicious about them. 
Information is very scarce regarding the difference between the stature 
of adult women in earlier times and now. In France the average stature 
of adult women is said to have increased from 154 to 157 cm., or by 3 cm. 
in the last 80 years, and it very probably has done so. There is a con­ 
siderable difference, however, between the average stature in the various 
parts of the country, and as the total number of measurements in the last 
period is only 255, the statement is not convincing.

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