Sunday, June 10, 2007
Tall South, Short North
I found an interesting ARTICLE about height difference between the North and South Korean. As we know, North Korea suffered chronic food shortage due to series of drought and crop failures (also the fundamental flaw of the socialist system of collective farming). The articles says that average height difference is significant, as of 2005, the average height of people aged between 20 and 39 in North Korea is 154.9cm (5.08ft) for females and 165.6cm (5.43ft) for males, while the average height for the South Korean is 159.1cm (5.21ft) for females and 172.5cm (5.65ft) for males. The gap between the two will keep growing, and as article says we, Korean might become two totally different races! (To make the matter worse, the unification of the two seems elusive at this point)
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I remember reading a story in the Martin book about this. How this one lady's son grew like 6cm in 6 months since coming to South Korea. I've also read rumors that the North Korean military had to actually decrease their height requirement because of the malnutrition that results in the shorter people.
I think what you mentioned about the growing gap between the two Koreas is important. To me, it seems that for this reason, among many others, the two peoples are becoming very different as time goes on. In my opinion this makes reunification much harder to achieve as the Koreans have less and less in common and are no longer similar.
This is a very interesting point. Since, Norht Koreans all presumably marry North Koreans, there must be a considerable amount of inbreeding. Coupled with the malnutrition, there may be many health problems in the North Koreans forseable future, unless something changes.
This may not be directly relavant, however, a North Korean defector witnessed that malnutrition and tremendous torture made people shirink about 10 cm. It is important to take proper nutrition during a period of growth. However, it seems that adopting alimentation is important for adult not to become shorter.
John McCain referenced this statistic in the debate tonight - and people thought he wasn't as smart as Obama!
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