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European Men Got a Lot Taller in 100 Years

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On the surface, adding an inch to one's height about every 25 years doesn't seem too remarkable.

However, when you consider that five-foot-four was the average height of European men in 1870 and that by the 1980s, it was up to five-foot-eight, it may suddenly appear impressive.

Timothy Hatton, professor of Economics at the University of Essex, and his team examined statistics over a century from 15 European countries and discovered that men did indeed add four inches to their height during that span.

According to Hatton, "Increases in human stature are a key indicator of improvements in the average health of populations."

In fact, the greatest acceleration occurred during World Wars one and two.

Thanks to advances in medicine, health care, better nutrition and a lower infant mortality rate, men grew taller.

Unfortunately, statistics on women were more limited, making it difficult to determine how much they added to their height.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio