Height is affected by a variety of factors not just diet although getting enough protein and calories while growing is important.
The Dutch people may not always have been the tallest, I cant be totally certain of the facts mentioned though. Why Are the Dutch So Tall?
In the space of about 150 years, the
Dutch have gone from being one of
Europe's smallest people to the
tallest in the world. A look at why
the Dutch are so tall.
The most convincing argument for why
the Dutch have grown so tall so
recently was put forward by J.W.
Drukker, a professor of economic
history at the University of
Groningen. His studies revealed that
the Dutch growth spurt of the mid-19th
century coincided with the
establishment of the first liberal
democracy. Before this time, Holland
had grown rich off its colonies but
the wealth had stayed in the hands of
the elite. After this time, the wealth
began to trickle down to all levels of
society, the average income went up
and so did the height.
Since then, the gap between the rich
and poor in Holland has remained
relatively narrow, and the country now
has some of the best pre- and
postnatal care in the world. This is
in direct contrast to America, for
example, where the population, once
more than 3 inches taller than the
average Dutchman, has not increased in
height for 25 years.
This paper is also interesting Long run trends in the heights of European men, 19th-20th centuries.
This paper presents 5-yearly data on the height of young adult men in 15 Western European countries for birth cohorts from the middle of the 19th to the end of the 20th century. The results indicate that from the 1870s to the 1970s average height increased by around 11cm, or more than 1cm per decade. The main finding is that for the northern and middle European groups of countries the gains in height were most rapid in the period 1911-15 to 1951-55, a period that embraced two World Wars and the Great Depression but also witnessed advances in public health and hygiene. For the southern countries growth was fastest in the period 1951-55 to 1976-80. These findings suggest that advances in height were determined not only by income and living standards but also by a variety of other socioeconomic trends.