Friday, June 15, 2018
Now if you have a planned trip to Europe in mind and hope to idle away your r&r visiting the castles and stately homes of medieval England and Poland, spare a thought for the size of the furniture. Or more particularly the size of the people the beds and chairs were made for. You will note the people of yesteryear was smaller. Science tells us, as a species, we are getting bigger and our feet are changing shape. Records show in North America in 1895 the popular size range in women's shoes was 1 to 6, on D and E widths. One hundred years later the popular range is between 7.5 to 8 and B width in most demand. Women's feet are longer and thinner, according to the sources. Whilst this might seem to conflict with the popular belief feet get flatter and broader as we get older, the statistic does not cover this issue.
US Army records maintained since the War of Independence show recruits were significantly smaller and weighed much less than in the past than they do now. Shoe sizes have almost doubled in 150 years. More interesting is the rate of change has accelerated from the time of the second world war to the present. Recruits have grown 2", gained 23 pounds and now takes shoes that are two sizes up.
Scientists pondering this conundrum believe there may be two causes, improved diet and health care. Changed diets and public health the children of each succeeding generation have become taller and heavier, (not fatter), that their parents were at the same age. These dramatic changed have been witnessed in countries like Japan, where after the war western food and diets supplanted much of the traditional fare. Children grew 2" and put on 15 pounds more than their parents were at the same age.
There is no data available on Australian populations, but much of the population early years of settlement were European, and many malnourished. Changes to their diet and improved health has certainly resulted in bigger and taller Australians, and I guess with longer and narrower feet to win gold medals with.
The true story of shoe sizes New York: Sterlinglast Corp