A study published in the journal Scientifc Reports led by researchers at the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF-UAB-CSIC) has shown that men in wealthy countries are becoming more high because they have a diet more rich in nitrogen and phosphorus.
The study explains that there is a difference in the height of the men of 23 inches of media between the countries with a GDP higher and the lower, a difference that has grown 1.5 inches in the past 30 years.
The work has concluded that the diet rich in products of animal origin and more varied is the that ensures that rich countries receive almost the double of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus per year that poor countries and, thus, increase the size of its inhabitants.
To reach this conclusion, researchers used data from 80 different countries for entities such as the United Nations Organization for Food (FAO) of men born between the years 60, 70 and 80.
The study has found that the average height of the men varies a lot between countries and that this variation is related to the gross domestic product of each country.
Thus, on average, there is a difference of 23 cm between the countries with people higher (Denmark and the Netherlands, with an average of 1.83 metres in height) and the countries with the lowest of people (Guatemala and Vietnam, with an average of 1.60 metres).
According to the researcher at the CREAF Jordi Sardans, the study has shown that this relationship is more linked to the intake of pounds per capita of nitrogen and phosphorus that other factors that might seem more relevant, as the amount of daily calories.
The rich countries receive the most pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus through the diet annually (19.5 kg of nitrogen and 2,17 phosphorus), poor countries (9,66 kg of nitrogen and 1.35 phosphorus).
“The height is not a feature to be neutral, but that is directly related to the health and life expectancy”, it indicates Sardans in a statement picked up by the EFE agency. “Therefore -he adds – if we want to eliminate the differences between rich and poor countries in terms of height and health, you have to take into account the quantities of nitrogen and phosphorus that get people through food and to propose profound changes in the agricultural model and the proportion between consumption products of animal origin and of vegetable origin on a planetary scale”.
According to the author, if we take into account that to produce 1 gram of animal product you need on average 10 grams of food of plant origin, it would be desirable that the rich countries are advancing towards a diet less rich in animal products and rich in products of plant origin, with the appropriate proportions. “This would help to increase global food production, and that poor countries had access to more food of animal origin, plant products are more nutrient-rich and a more varied diet,” he added Sardans.
Professor Josep Peñuelas, researcher of the CSIC at the CREAF, has indicated that to improve the productivity of the crops of the poor countries must take into account the scarcity of phosphorus. “The crops have good levels of soil phosphorus are more productive, but this item is fairly low in soils of tropical zones, where are located a good part of the most impoverished countries,” he said.
“On the other hand, -it has denounced – because the world’s reserves of phosphorus are found in a few regions of the world, and they are limited, has given a clear scenario of speculation and rising prices ever-increasing this element. This makes the fertilizers carrying phosphorus have prices which are unaffordable for the farmers of these countries.”