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Percentiles of Modern Height Standards for Use in Historical Research

  • Richard H. Steckel

Percentiles of modern height standards are useful in historical research because children differ systematically in height by age, and differences in growth potential exist by gender and might exist across some ethnic groups. Modern height standards are needed to make relative comparisons of nutritional status in these circumstances. The standards are also used to assess progress or deprivation against a level that we know is attainable under good environmental circumstances. Historical researchers in need of modern height standards encounter several problems, including the choice of standards, manipulation of those standards to meet the requirements of historical data, and calculation of percentiles. Following a discussion of criteria used in selecting standards, which lead to the choice of NCHS heights as a reference, the paper gives percentiles calculated in line with the requirements of historical data. Results are given in centimeters and inches and by age at last birthday and age at nearest birthday.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/h0075.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0075.

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Date of creation: Oct 1995
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0075
Note: DAE
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  1. Dora L. Costa & Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Long-Term Trends in Health, Welfare, and Economic Growth in the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Komlos, . "Height and Social Status in Eighteenth-Century Germany," Articles by John Komlos 27, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  3. Steckel, Richard H., 1986. "A Peculiar Population: The Nutrition, Health, and Mortality of American Slaves from Childhood to Maturity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 721-741, September.
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