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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


RAMON MUNOZ, Ramon  and  RAMON MUNOZ, Josep Maria. Biological Standards of Living in Rural Catalonia over the Long Run: a Comparison with Urban Areas (1840-1960). Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2018, vol.35, n.spe5, pp.54-62.  Epub July 06, 2020. ISSN 1699-5198.


to assess the long-term evolution of biological living standards in rural Catalonia and to compare it with the corresponding figures in urban areas.


using data from military records of conscripts from six towns in western Catalonia, we construct an annual height series. Height is standardised at the age of 21 years. We also construct a body mass index (BMI) for conscripts born in 1891 and 1934-39. The annual height series for western Catalonia is systematically compared to the series for Reus, Catalonia's second largest city during the second half of the 19th century.


comparing the cohorts born in the periods 1840-49 and 1951-60, we find that height increased by 5.7 centimetres over this period. However, the increase was not distributed equally over time. In the second half of the 19th century, rural heights stagnated over the long run and declined relative to urban heights. In the cohorts born in the decades between 1910 and 1950, rural heights rose by more than 5 centimetres, and converged with those of Reus.


we provide new evidence for the current debate on the rural-urban height gap. Between the 1840s and the 1950s, heights in rural western Catalonia grew at rates similar to those recorded in certain urban areas, but growth rates differed depending on the period of analysis. This study underlines the importance of adopting long-term perspectives, and stresses that rural-urban height differences tend to be time-and space-specific.

Keywords : Anthropometry; Living standards; Rural-urban height differences; Catalonia.

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