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Historical trends in height, weight, and body mass: Data from U.S. Major League Baseball players, 1869-1983

  • Saint Onge, Jarron M.
  • Krueger, Patrick M.
  • Rogers, Richard G.
Registered author(s):

    We employ a unique dataset of Major League Baseball (MLB) players - a select, healthy population - to examine trends in height, weight, and body mass in birth cohorts from 1869 to 1983. Over that 115-year time period, U.S. born MLB players have gained, on average, approximately 3Â in. (7.6Â cm) in height and 27.0Â lb (12.2Â kg) in weight, which has contributed a 1.6-unit increase in the body mass index. Where comparable data are available, U.S. born MLB players are about 2.0Â in. (5.1Â cm) taller and 20.0Â lb (9.1Â kg) heavier but substantially less obese than males in the general U.S. population. But both groups exhibit similar height and weight trends; the majority of height and weight gains take place in cohorts that were born prior to World War II, followed by slower gains and occasional declines in height and weight for cohorts born in 1939 and later.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B73DX-4T0MMK8-1/2/17c12cd5c5cfa3184b9eee3f50fc49ad
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 3 (December)
    Pages: 482-488

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:6:y:2008:i:3:p:482-488
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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    1. John Komlos & Marieluise Baur, 2003. "From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century," CESifo Working Paper Series 1028, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. John Komlos & Benjamin E. Lauderdale, 2007. "Underperformance in Affluence: The Remarkable Relative Decline in U.S. Heights in the Second Half of the 20th Century," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 88(2), pages 283-305.
    3. Komlos, John, 1987. "The Height and Weight of West Point Cadets: Dietary Change in Antebellum America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 897-927, December.
    4. Robert William Fogel, 1993. "New Sources and New Techniques for the Study of Secular Trends in Nutritional Status, Health, Mortality, and the Process of Aging," NBER Historical Working Papers 0026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. William Witnauer & Richard Rogers & Jarron Saint Onge, 2007. "Major league baseball career length in the 20th century," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 371-386, August.
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