Longitudinal studies of human growth and health: A review of recent historical research

Kris Inwood, Evan Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This paper reviews recent literature using stature and weight as measures of human welfare with a particular interest in cliometric or historical research. We begin with an overview of anthropometric evidence of living standards and the new but fast-growing field of anthropometric history. This literature is always implicitly and often explicitly longitudinal in nature. We then discuss (i) systematic empirical research into the relationship between conditions in early life and later life health and mortality and (ii) historical evidence on the relationship between body mass, morbidity and mortality. We conclude with a discussion of the importance of historical sources and understandings to health economics and population health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-840
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Economic Surveys
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Anthropometric history
  • Biological standard of living
  • Height
  • Obesity
  • Physical stature
  • Well-being


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