People from northern Europe are taller than most people in other European countries. Researchers from the University of Queensland found that genetics is the key to height and body mass index (BMI) proportions.

The research team, led by Dr. Matthew Robinson from the Queensland Brain Institute, looked into the BMI and height of 9,416 participants from 14 countries across Europe. They looked for recurring genetic variants among the subjects to determine if they are linked by one definite trait.

Robinson's team pointed to genetics as the differentiator in height but the subjects' BMI is ruled by environmental factors. These findings suggest that nutritional profiles differ from country to country, as one's diet is dictated by the region he or she is born into. Robinson noted that one's diet is far more influential than genetics when looking into the BMI difference across the nations.

The study's most important claim is the association between the genes responsible for lower BMI to the genes that determine a person's height.

These genetic differences, which took thousands of years to craft through natural selection, explain the height variance of northern Europeans from their southern kinfolk. An average Dutch is taller than your average Italian by 2.7 inches. Compared to an average Spaniard, the Dutch is taller by 3.14 inches.

"The research suggests that tall nations are genetically more likely to be slim," said Professor Peter Visscher who assisted Robinson's team. The study shows regional differences account to 24 percent height variations and eight percent BMI disparities. Robinson theorized that regional traits helped in the survival in ancient Mediterranean. Thousands of years ago, the situation must be in contrast with northern Europe. Robinson's notion linked the findings to Darwin's theory of historic natural selection.

The study is a good vantage point to see if regional differences have links to higher cases of obesity and other diseases. Science proves that countries with naturally tall people are genetically wired to have lower BMI and thin waistlines. External factors like diet, habits and heredity also play key roles. The research's findings will be beneficial in determining whether genetics is also a key statistics identifier among countries with disorders such as heart diseases, Alzheimer's, dementia and diabetes.

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