In the early 1960s Wilt Chamberlain was one of only three players in the National Basketball Association listed at over seven feet. If he had played last season, however, he would have been one of 42. The bodies playing major professional sports have changed dramatically over the years, and managers have been more than willing to adjust team uniforms to fit the growing numbers of bigger, longer frames.
The trend in sports, though, may be obscuring an unrecognized reality: Americans have generally stopped growing. Though typically about two inches taller now than 140 years ago, today's people--especially those born to families who have lived in the U.S. for many generations--apparently reached their limit in the early 1960s. And they aren't likely to get any taller. "In the general population today, at this genetic, environmental level, we've pretty much gone as far as we can go," says anthropologist William Cameron Chumlea of Wright State University.
This article was originally published with the title Napoleon's Revenge.