Hiroshi Mori: Secular Trends in Child Height in Post-War Japan: Nutrition throughout Childhood; Recent Advances in Food Science; 2018; 1(2): 75-84

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It has been widely accepted that the first years of life are key determinants of future adult height. Japan suffered very severe food shortages during WW II and the first few years of the post-war period, followed by a quick recovery and steady and rapid economic progress toward the early 1990s. Children in Japan grew in height from the mid-1950s onward. Young adults in their early 20s in the 1960s were born in the mid-1940s, during a period of extreme shortage of food supply, but grew up in the late 1950s, with increasing food supply. Those cohorts born during the war years are found to show exceptionally large growth velocity during late adolescence, indicating the actual chances for “catch-up growth” even after the puberty spurt.