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조선시대 성인 평균키는 남자 161.1, 여자 148.9 센티미터

Koreans' average height grew about 12 cm over past century: study

All Headlines  10:43 January 31, 2012


SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) -- Korean adults who lived during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) were significantly shorter on average than today's generation, a medical study released on Tuesday suggests.


According to the first nationwide study on the height of Koreans including Joseon-era forefathers, average heights of both male and female adults have increased by 12.9 centimeters and 11.6 centimeters, respectively, over the past century.


The study estimated the average height of Koreans who lived during the Joseon era at 161.1 centimeters for men and 148.9 centimeters for women.




In comparison, 174 centimeters and 160.5 centimeters were the average heights for each gender measured in 2010 by the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, affiliated with the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.


The study calculated the Joseon-era heights based on the size of thighbones extracted from the remains of 116 adults from the 15th through 19th centuries. The same calculation method is widely used in Japan and is believed to be the most precise way of measuring height from remains, according to the study team led by Hwang Young-il and Shin Dong-hun, anatomy professors of Seoul National University's College of Medicine.


The study also showed that the average height of Koreans barely changed from the early 15th century till the late 19th century but began to rise sharply from the early 20th century as the country modernized and industrialized.


"Nutritional conditions, diseases and other hygienic elements appear to be the main factors for the shorter average height of Koreans during the Joseon era," Hwang said. "It is a widely used theory in eubiotics that one stays short if his or her caloric intake is insufficient or if he or she suffers a disease while growing up."


sshim@yna.co.kr

(END)



01-31-2012 18:42  

Joseon men 161cm tall, women 149cm 

By Kim Rahn


Men in the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) era stood 161 centimeters tall on average, while women were about 149 centimeters tall, according to a study.


It is the first time for the average height of the nation’s ancestors to be estimated.


A research team led by professors Hwang Young-il and Shin Dong-hoon at Seoul National University’s Department of Anatomy announced the result of their study Tuesday, providing unprecedented details on how tall our ancestors were.


The Joseon era’s average statures compare with the average heights of 174 centimeters for men and 160.5 for women as of 2010, according to the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards.


The study was published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 


The researchers came up with the result after measuring the thighbones of the remains from tombs for 67 men and 49 women between the 15th and 19th centuries and calculating the proportions. The measuring method, Fujii’s equation, is said to be the most accurate way currently used to estimate the height using skeletal remains.


According to the study, the average height of men from the Joseon period was shorter than those in Western countries dating from similar periods: in Sweden in the 17th century a male’s average stature was 169.9 centimeters; that in the Netherlands in the 17th-19th centuries, 166.7 centimeters; that in Germany in the 16th-18th centuries, 169.5 centimeters; and that in the U.S. in the 17th-19th centuries, 173.4 centimeters. 


But it was taller than that of male Japanese by some 6 centimeters. “According to Japan’s research, the average stature of Japanese men between the early Edo period and the Meiji era (between the 17th and early 20th centuries) was 154.7-155.1 centimeters,” Hwang said. 


The study showed the Joseon people’s average height hadn’t changed much from the early 15th century to the end of 19th century, but rapidly grew from the early 20th century.


Hwang said such a sudden change was linked to better nutrition, hygiene and industrialization. 


“It seems the Joseon people were undernourished and suffered from diseases due to poor hygiene. But the stature increased considerably in about a century as the country’s modernization started at the end of the 19th century and full-scale industrialization began in the 1960s. This led to improved nutrition and hygiene,” he said.


He said a similar tendency was also seen in Western countries where people’s average statures hiked in the early 19th century in a short time upon industrialization.



2012.01.31 06:00:10

<조선시대 평균키 남 161.1㎝, 여 148.9㎝>

국내 첫 연구결과…서울대의대 15~19세기 유골 116명 분석

같은 시기 일본보다 6㎝ 이상 커 


(서울=연합뉴스) 김태식 김길원 기자 = 조선시대 우리 선조의 평균 키가 남성 161㎝, 여성 149㎝로 나타났다. 


우리 조상의 평균 키를 광범위하게 분석한 결과가 나온 것은 이번이 처음이다.


서울대의대 해부학교실 황영일·신동훈 교수팀은 15세기 이래 19세기에 이르기까지 조선시대 116명(남 67명, 여 49명)의 유골에서 채취한 넙다리뼈(대퇴골)를 이용해 평균키를 분석한 결과 남성은 161.1(±5.6)㎝, 여성 148.9(±4.6)㎝로 각각 분석됐다고 31일 밝혔다.


이는 2010년 지식경제부 기술표준원이 조사한 한국인 평균키(남 174㎝, 여 160.5㎝)에 비해 각각 12.9㎝, 11.6㎝ 가량 작은 수치다.


이번 연구결과를 담은 논문은 미국 자연인류학저널(American Journal of Physical Anthropology) 최신호에 실렸다.


논문을 보면 연구팀은 골반과 무릎 사이에 뻗어 있는 넙다리의 뼈 길이를 재 전체 키에서 차지하는 비율을 계산하는 방식으로 평균키를 추정했다. 이는 일본에서 사용하는 방식으로, 현재 사용되는 유골의 키 측정법 가운데 가장 정확하다는 게 연구팀의 설명이다. 


연구결과에 따르면 조선시대 한국인의 평균키는 조선 초기인 15세기초부터 구한말인 19세기말까지 큰 변화가 없었다. 이는 중세시대에는 신장에 별다른 차이가 없다가 19세기초 산업화와 함께 일시적으로 평균키가 급신장한 영국과 미국, 스웨덴, 프랑스 등의 서구 국가와 대비되는 대목이다.


반면 한국에서는 15세기 이후 정체된 평균키가 20세기 초부터 급성장하는 특징을 보였다. 


조선왕조의 개화기가 다른 나라에 비해 늦어진 데다 19세기말에서야 비로소 근대화가 이뤄지기 시작했고, 1960년대 들어 산업화가 본격화된 점에 비춰보면 이 같은 추세가 설득력을 갖다는 게 연구팀의 해석이다.


국가별 비교결과를 보면 조선시대 남성의 평균키(161.1)는 다른 서구국가에 비해 크게 작았다. 하지만 일본에 비교하면 약 6㎝ 이상 컸다. 연구팀이 제시한 일본측 분석자료에 따르면 에도시대부터 명치시대까지 일본 남성의 평균키는 154.7~155.1㎝로 왜소했다. 


이런 수치를 볼 때 당시 조선사람이 일본인들을 작다는 뜻에서 '왜(倭)'라고 부른 것이 상당한 근거를 갖고 있는 셈이다.


비슷한 시기 서구국가들의 평균키는 스웨덴 169.6㎝(17세기), 영국 168.1㎝(12~18세기), 네덜란드 166.7㎝(17~19세기), 독일 169.5㎝(16~18세기), 포르투칼 165.7㎝(15~19세기), 미국 173.4㎝(17세기 후반~19세기 후반) 등으로 한국보다 훨씬 컸다. 


황영일 교수는 "조선시대에 평균키가 작았던 것은 영양 상태와 함께 질병 등의 보건 위생적 요인이 크게 작용한 것으로 보인다"면서 "성장기에 영양성분의 섭취가 부족하고 질병 등을 겪으면 키가 작아진다는 사실은 보건학에서 보편적으로 통용되는 논리"라고 말했다.

taeshik@yna.co.kr

bio@yna.co.kr

(끝)