January 23, 2021

Canaries of the last century, the highest in Spain – The Province

Canaries of the last century, the highest in Spain - The Province


The Canarian men At the beginning of the 20th century, with its 165 centimeters of medium height, they were the highest in all of Spain thanks to the "biological wellbeing" that drove the mild and benign climate of the archipelago, a factor even more important than the economic and educational backwardness of the era and the high rates of emigration to Cuba Y Venezuela.

To this conclusion has come the researcher of the Department of History and Economic Institutions the University of La Laguna Cándido Román Cervantes, together with two colleagues from the University of Murcia, in the study "Among the highest in Spain: nutritional status in the Western Canary Islands: male cohorts of 1860-1915" published by the journal "Hospital Nutrition".

In an interview with Efe, this professor of economics highlights that "the key" of this insular physical advantage in this period, much less ostensible nowadays by the development of the rest of Spain, resided in the influence of the environment on the stature, because "a favorable climate, of stable temperatures" promotes a "good" quality of life.

Román points out that he and his colleagues worked with a sample of 15,645 young people (they placed the average in 20 years) of the municipalities of La Orotava, Santa Cruz de Tenerife Y Santa Cruz de La Palma, whose size (165 centimeters on average) was comparable to that of the more developed areas of Spain, as Catalonia and the Basque Country.

Their results show that not only were tall men, but also "strong", because in addition to height, they measured their chest or back, and their body mass indexes reflected a good physical state, pointer throughout the country.

These body measurements They were compiled in the Acts of Classification and Declaration of Soldiers (ACDS) between 1880 and 1936, "very rich" documentary sources that inform, in addition to the military enlistments or the sizing, of the occupation of man, his place of residence or the level educational of the new recruit.

So, the weather "without severe winters that cut the harvests", according to Román, allowed to "diversify" the diet because it allowed to grow throughout the year fruits and fruit and vegetables, such as lettuce, tomatoes and papayas, which added to the fish.

"You can not have a tall size and a high level of development if you only eat bread. Castile, for example, were very low due to the poverty of nutrients and a diet based mainly on cereals and meat, "adds the director of the Chair of Social and Community Economy of the ULL.

In addition, the Canarian climate facilitated other "key" factors to understand the good physical condition of the Canarian youth of that time, such as the faster cure of the sick, to which the reduced space, the proximity of the coasts or the absence of "serious" epidemics due to territorial fracture.

The work He argues that adult height is a reflection of the impact of genetics or health on individuals, and that it has a positive correlation with income, the distribution of wealth, cognitive development and nutrition.

"Inequality consists in that: those who can read, write and have a profession linked to the university are taller, and those who can not read or write, the workers, are the shortest," he points out. Roman.

Thus, the paradox is that this work literally suggests that the Canarians "enjoyed" biological and health welfare standards "similar to the more developed European pattern" of the time, despite being a poor region in "economic terms". "and in" educational achievements ".

Cándido Román also adds that in 1860, the year in which the exhibition began, the Canary Islands experienced "very large and important" migratory flows towards Venezuela and, especially, towards Cuba, and that the study only took into account the young people who remained and they got to enlist army.

"Normally, the people who emigrate are the strongest, the highest, if we could have measured those who left with 18 or 20 years, probably these data, in the Canary Islands, would be much higher," he points out.

Román also believes that a study of the same characteristics at the same time to the Canarian women "almost certainly" would reflect that they were "higher" than the rest of Spanish women.

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