For this reason, a study found that Peru has the shortest population in South America | Answers

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For this reason, a study found that Peru has the shortest population in South America |  Answers

Peru ranks last for all heights, with an average height of 1.66 meters for males and 1.54 meters for females. South America; That is, it presents the shortest population in the region, expressed in a ranking NCD Risk Factor Collaboration System.

Although this study, which was launched in 2019, did not examine much data from Peru and passed by chance, the fact is that there is a genetic explanation behind the short stature of Peruvians and nutrition appears to be a factor. Influence. In this order, Infobae Peru He spoke to two experts to find out why Perus have such a short stature.

Why are the shortest inhabitants of South America found in Peru?

Genetic problem

According to experts, 80% to 90% of a person's height is controlled by his genetic load, while the remaining percentage is influenced by the environment around him. However, Peru has a different situation because there is a variant that alters the growth of its citizens and is responsible for their low height.

According to a genetic study carried out in Metropolitan Lima in 2020 by the Cinque Agency, the variant in question would be a mutation of the FBN1 gene, which is found exclusively in people of Native American descent; And as is known, a large percentage of Peruvians have indigenous roots.

In this context, Infobae explains that each copy of the gene is associated with a decrease in height of approximately 2.2 centimeters. If a person has two copies of the variant, their height will be 4.4 centimeters shorter.

On the other hand, Borg Barca, professor of human medicine at the University of Science of the South, opines that deficiency in growth hormone production is another reason for a person's short height.

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“That's why in the assessment we look at the levels of the parents, and essentially, the levels of the siblings, even the grandparents, to see if there's an important genetic component that can cause these people to have lower than normal levels,” Explain.

Food problem

As mentioned above, the other 20% that affects a person's height is the environment around him and within this percentage, diet is a factor.

Nutritionist Abel Falcon says that diet plays an important role in a person's development during childhood and adolescence because it determines whether enough calcium is provided for bone growth, and proteins for muscle mass growth.

Additionally, the expert notes that nutrition is important from the time the baby is in the womb because if the mother does not eat enough, at least in rural areas, the baby will grow up short and underweight.

Likewise, he says, the situation can worsen if severe diarrheal illnesses occur, as electrolytes and zinc can be lost.

“In Peru, in rural areas, we also have cases where almost 21% of children are chronically malnourished in the first five years of life. If they are already chronically malnourished, they don't get enough protein, energy or minerals, and then they reach their adolescence with short stature.He adds.

Economic problem

Nutritionist Abel Falcon notes that one factor that indirectly affects an individual's growth is financial issues. In Peru, although there is a wide variety of foods, not all families have the same economic conditions, not everyone has all types of food within their reach, and therefore, it is difficult for them to access good nutrition.

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“For example, in the jungle it's more common to suddenly have river fish as a staple meat meal than beef or chicken. In the hills, yams, potatoes, pulses, sweet potatoes and cassava are abundant. There's not much variety.”Expert explains.

Even if the Peru government gives educational talks to those responsible for the family on how to provide better nutrition, it does not have much impact on them because of the adverse conditions they find themselves in.

“If you do these workshops and ask them to eat sangrecita with chicken or beef, they say: But I don't have money to get these dishes, I can give rice with rice every day, I don't have money. Buy a portion of chicken every day. That area is alien to our intervention. Economic excellence should be seen through better family planning and more employment opportunities in that sector.under control.

Are there treatments to increase height?

Patients who are deficient in growth hormone can receive injections to address their height problem, but it's important to note that this is not a treatment for all short people, as Fui Barca cautions.

Specific treatments are being developed for certain genetic conditions, such as achondroplasia, one of the most common bone dysplasias, according to a geneticist at the University of the Sciences of the South.

Although prospective studies were conducted, experts were interviewed Infobae Peru They call for further studies and to improve the economic condition of the country's poorest families.

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