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Height, Frailty, and the Standard of Living: Modelling the Effects of Diet and Disease on Declining Mortality and Increasing Height

George Alter
Population Studies
Vol. 58, No. 3 (Nov., 2004), pp. 265-279
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4148210
Page Count: 15
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Height, Frailty, and the Standard of Living: Modelling the Effects of Diet and Disease on Declining Mortality and Increasing Height
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Abstract

Explanations of historical trends in both mortality and human height differ over the relative contributions of better nutrition and reduced exposure to disease. This paper explores theoretical models in which interactions between diet and disease determine both mortality and height. One model assumes that adult height is directly related to frailty, the relative risk of dying. The second model links frailty to differences between attained and potential height. Diet plays a small role in the transition to low mortality in the first model The second model assigns a large role to diet in historical mortality trends, but implies that mortality will be unrelated to height in the future.

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