Height of average man surges by four inches

The average man's height increased by more than 4.3 inches in the 100 years since the middle of the 19th century, researchers have discovered.

British men who were born in the 1870s had an average height at the age of 21 of 5ft 6in, while those born in the 1970s were 5ft 10in.

At 6ft 7in, footballer Peter Crouch is a towering example of a tall modern man. Credit: Dave Howarth/EMPICS Sport

Scientists studied military records and population surveys from 15 European countries between 1870 and 1980 to collate their findings, published in the journal Oxford Economic Papers.

The study only examined the height of men because there was insufficient data to compare heights of women.

It found a surge in average height in the first half of the 20th century, which experts put down to improvements in hygiene, sanitation and nutrition and improvements in medicine.