Height trends in males and females from the island of Crete and its prefectures at the turn of the 20th century


  • Marco Capocasa
  • Grigorius Fytanidis
  • Francesco Masedu
  • Maria Enrica Danubio


height trends, Crete prefectures, first half of the 20th century


This paper aimed to validate the hypothesis that at the beginning of the 20th century, the island of Crete maintained better living conditions in comparison with the rest of Greece. We analysed trends in adult height in both sexes following two steps. In the first, height was considered by sex and birth cohorts for the island as a whole. In the second, the same approach was applied to study the phenomenon in the four prefectures of the island. Average heights were 155.4±6.2 cm and 168.7±6.4 cm in females and males, respectively, and the trend in time constantly increases in the latter. The distribution of stature in the four prefectures of the island highlighted the significantly taller stature of the males in Chania, compared to the other three. Our findings report higher average statures compared to those of Cretan conscripts born between 1927 and 1945. Our results confirm that the Cretans were wealthier at the turn of the 20th century, before being annexed to Greece. Moreover, they suggest that the taller statures of the males in the prefecture of Chania may reflect protection action of isolation to the introduction of infectious diseases related to trade flows.