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  • Your grandma is probably pretty short.

  • In fact, grandmas all over the world are pretty short.

  • As they've aged, their cartilage has shrunk, their bones have worn down, and their muscles have deteriorated.

  • As a result, your grandma has been losing about half an inch of height each decade since she turned 40.

  • But even before she started shrinking, your grandma was probably never as tall as she might have been.

  • And that's because many grandmas were malnourished as babies, which inhibited their ability to reach full height later on.

  • There were lots of reasons for this.

  • Historically, many people were chronically short on food, or lived through famines.

  • Babies also used to get a lot sicker a lot more often, with illnesses that compromise the body's ability to absorb nutrients.

  • Plus, we simply didn't know a whole lot about infant nutrition.

  • As a result, malnutrition robbed your grandma of somewhere between 2 and 3.5 inches of her potential height.

  • Okay, maybe not your grandma, but grandmas on average around the world.

  • The good news is that, thanks to increasing wealth, better vaccines, improved sanitation, and more nutritional know-how,

  • people of all genders and nationalities have gotten taller over the past hundred years.

  • And in some countries, the gains have been huge.

  • Men and women in South Korea, for example, are 6 and 8 inches taller, respectively, than they were a century ago.

  • That's about the height difference between Ever, our illustrator, and me!

  • And it's not just about height.

  • Well-nourished kids with normal growth have fewer health problems and an easier time learning,

  • and go on to make more money than people whose growth is stunted from malnutrition.

  • What's more, the populations of most developing countries are still gaining height today.

  • In fact, there are only a few places where the population has stopped getting taller in the last few decades.

  • Very wealthy countries like the US and Denmark, where almost all people have enough food to reach their maximum potential height,

  • and very poor countries like Niger, India, and Papua New Guinea, where people still face major challenges with food insecurity, disease, and sanitation.

  • In those places, we're still coming up short.

  • There is still a lot of progress to be made here, which is why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with us to make this video.

  • This year, Bill and Melinda Gates created the Goalkeepers report to track the progress of the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals and inspire a new generation of goalkeepers to hold their leaders accountable and drive action to accelerate progress.

  • One of those goals is to end stunted growth due to malnutrition by 2030 through a range of programs designed to address health and nutrition broadly.

  • But progress is not inevitable and there is still more to be done.

  • Check out the report by clicking the link in the description box below and learn how you can become a goalkeeper.

Your grandma is probably pretty short.

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