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Reason Foundation

Were all Supermen now

Ted Balaker
July 30, 2006, 4:34pm

Well sort of, compared to our scrawny, sickly selves of a century or so ago. I just submitted a piece that's scheduled to run in the Los Angeles Business Journal in which I argue that life in Los Angeles is better than it was a generation ago. Much of my argument focused on progress, like medical advances, that doesn't have a whole lot to do with the specific goings on of LA politics. I wish I had seen this fascinating NYT piece (first in a series, btw) that Peter Gordon flags. It illustrates We're bigger than we used to be. In 1850 the average man was 5 feet 7.4 inches and weighed 146 lbs. By 2000, the average stood 5 feet 9.5 inches tall and weighed in at 191 lbs. IQs have been increasing for decades and we live longer and healthier lives: Peter also points out that just last month a cervical cancer vaccine became available. Some more interesting bits from the NYT article: In the mid-19th Century life was indeed nasty and brutish as folks often segued from one disease to another: And more stuff for the "Overworked Americans" file: Related: Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality Since 1700 Related: Rather be miner or web designer? Stay tuned: My upcoming policy brief, Why Mobility Matters, touches on some of the ways imporved mobilty has made our lifes longer, healthier, and better.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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