Today Paul Krugman writes about new research by Komlos and Lauderdale in Soc Sci Q on trends in adult height among industrialized countries during the past century. As is the case with life expectancy at birth, average height in the U.S. is not as high as you might expect it to be, given that average incomes in the U.S. are the highest in the world.
I wish the authors had looked at within-country spreads in height, or the variance around the average. That would be informative because we know that there is considerably more variance in life span in the U.S. than in other industrialized countries. I would expect greater variance in height as well.