Selective Mortality or Growth after Childhood?� What Really is Key to Understand the Puzzlingly Tall Adult Heights in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Sahara African populations are tall relative to the extremely adverse disease environment and their low incomes.� Selective mortality, which removes shorter individuals leaving taller individuals in the population, was proposed as an explanation.� From heights of surviving and non-surviving children in Gambia, we etimate the size of the survivorship bias and find it to be too small to account for the tall adult heights observed in sub-Saharan Africa.� We propose instead a different yet widely ignored explanation: African populations attain a tall adult stature, because they can make up a significant amount of the growth shortfall after age 5.� This pattern is in striking contrast to other developing countries.� Moreover, mortality rates are relatively low after age 5 adding further doubts about selection mortality.
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