Numerous research studies have consistently highlighted that genetic factors alone do not exclusively determine an individual's height. Instead, a person's height is significantly influenced by their living environment and the quality of healthcare they receive. This insight forms a crucial foundation for understanding the variations in height observed between Asians residing in Western countries and those in Eastern regions. Several factors contribute to these disparities, including:
Meals of Asian families in the West are varied with four basic ingredients: Protein, Carbohydrates, Calories, Vitamins, and Minerals which provide enough nutrients and energy for daily activities as well as for physical development. Meanwhile, the Asians in the East choose rice and noodles (the starch) as the main dish. Rice and noodles easily bring a sense of fullness and cause them not to eat more, which affects the nutritional content in their meals and hinders their height growth.
Many children in Asia are raised and cared for based on the experiences of their parents. Nutrition at the golden stages for height growth, such as pregnancy, 0 - 3 years old, and puberty, is often improper, which makes children have low resistance, causes them to suffer from illnesses frequently, and adversely affects their height growth. Meanwhile, in the West, children's diets and health care are all consulted by doctors and nutritionists. This helps children grow well from the beginning.
In the West, children's diets and health care are all consulted by doctors and nutritionists.
Quality of food sources
The West attaches much importance to food safety. Therefore, food production, processing, and packaging are all monitored and inspected by specialized agencies. Meanwhile, contaminated foods and food poisoning are major problems in some countries of the East, which adversely affect Asians' physical development.
Physical education at schools
In the West, the number and duration of each physical education session are quite large. Sports activities and sports tournaments are held regularly at schools, which facilitates the height growth of students. Meanwhile, in Asia, physical education is considered a secondary subject with 2 sessions/week and 90 minutes/session. Students have to practice compulsory sports instead of selecting their favorite and appropriate sports.
In the West, the number and duration of each physical education session are quite large.
Infrastructure for physical activities
The Asians in the West live in a civilized environment with modern facilities for physical activities. As a result, sports practice and exercise occur at high frequency and appropriate intensity. Each residential area has space for exercise with necessary fitness equipment and anyone can go there to exercise without paying fees. On the contrary, in Asia, the investment in infrastructure and spaces for sports practice and exercise has not been focused.
Sleep and living environment
The Westerners go to sleep earlier than the Easterners.
Professor Jodi Mindell, Director of the Sleep Research Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has conducted a survey of the average sleeping time of children from 0 - 3 years old in some large countries. The results have shown that children in Western countries go to sleep earlier than children in East Asian countries from 30 minutes to more than 2 hours 30 minutes.
Westerners let their children sleep separately from an early age.
In Asia, many people have habits of sleeping with their children while Asian parents in the West let their children sleep separately from an early age so that their children can sleep well and deeply, thereby facilitating their height growth.
Furthermore, in Asia, some parents let their children sleep together. If one of the children wakes up, the sleep of the rest will be affected. As a result, their growth hormone production will be negatively affected, which results in limitation in height growth.
In Western countries, modern and civilized living environments, residential areas away from industrial zones, and close regulations on handling noise pollution have helped ensure the sleep quality of Asian communities. Meanwhile, in Asian countries, houses are often close to the roads and also places for business. Therefore, their sleep is often affected by the noise from vehicles.
In Western countries, the modern and civilized living environment has helped ensure the sleep quality of Asian communities.
Objective factors, such as a modern living environment, good facilities, and changes in living habits have helped the height of many Asians in Western countries gradually catch up with international friends. These factors again show that genetics does not completely determine height and we can improve our height if we build proper diets for ourselves, exercise frequently, and rest properly.
Height trend in Asians growing up in the West
When Asians immigrate to Western countries, they often undergo a series of adjustments, including dietary changes, lifestyle shifts, and exposure to different environmental factors. These changes can impact their growth trajectories, with some immigrants experiencing shifts in height due to the altered living conditions and dietary patterns in their new homes.
One intriguing aspect of height trends in immigrant communities is the generational shift. The height of first-generation immigrants may differ from that of their children or grandchildren who are raised in Western environments. This generational variation reflects the complex interplay between genetics and environmental factors.
Cultural assimilation plays a significant role in shaping height trends among Asian immigrants. As individuals adapt to Western culture, their dietary preferences and lifestyle choices may evolve, potentially impacting their growth patterns. The extent of assimilation and its effects on height can vary widely among immigrant communities.
Height trends among Asians growing up in the East and West make it evident that height is more than just a physical characteristic—it is a reflection of the complex interplay of genetics, environment, and healthcare accessibility. Recognizing height differences and their implications for health and well-being is paramount in ensuring the holistic development of Asian populations.
The public health implications of height disparities among Asians underscore the need for a comprehensive approach to healthcare accessibility and education. Encouraging further research and awareness of height-related disparities is a crucial step towards addressing these issues. By fostering a better understanding of the factors influencing height and height-related disparities, we can strive to create a world where every individual, regardless of their geographic origin, has the opportunity to reach their full growth potential and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
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