Skip to main content
The Changing Body
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 77
  • Cited by
    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hatton, Timothy J. 2017. Stature and sibship: historical evidence. The History of the Family, Vol. 22, Issue. 2-3, p. 175.

    Jennings, Julia A. Quaranta, Luciana and Bengtsson, Tommy 2017. Inequality and demographic response to short-term economic stress in North Orkney, Scotland, 1855–1910: Sector differences. Population Studies, p. 1.

    Thompson, Owen 2017. Gene-Environment Interaction in the Intergenerational Transmission of Asthma. Health Economics, Vol. 26, Issue. 11, p. 1337.

    Jantz, R. L. and Meadows Jantz, L. 2017. Limb bone allometry in modern Euro-Americans. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 163, Issue. 2, p. 252.

    Blum, Matthias McLaughlin, Eoin and Hanley, Nick 2017. Accounting for Sustainable Development over the Long-Run: Lessons from Germany. German Economic Review,

    Hochberg, Michael E. Noble, Robert J. and Lafferty, Kevin 2017. A framework for how environment contributes to cancer risk. Ecology Letters, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 117.

    Schneider, Eric B. 2017. Children's growth in an adaptive framework: explaining the growth patterns of American slaves and other historical populations. The Economic History Review, Vol. 70, Issue. 1, p. 3.

    Wallace, Ian J. Worthington, Steven Felson, David T. Jurmain, Robert D. Wren, Kimberly T. Maijanen, Heli Woods, Robert J. and Lieberman, Daniel E. 2017. Knee osteoarthritis has doubled in prevalence since the mid-20th century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, Issue. 35, p. 9332.

    Sohn, Kitae 2017. The Null Relation between Father Absence and Earlier Menarche. Human Nature,

    Saaritsa, Sakari 2017. Forever gender equal and child friendly? Intrahousehold allocations to health in Finland before the Nordic welfare state. European Review of Economic History,

    Kaiser, Bonnie N. Hruschka, Daniel and Hadley, Craig 2017. Measuring material wealth in low-income settings: A conceptual and how-to guide. American Journal of Human Biology, p. e22987.

    Borowy, Iris and Aillon, Jean-Louis 2017. Sustainable health and degrowth: Health, health care and society beyond the growth paradigm. Social Theory & Health, Vol. 15, Issue. 3, p. 346.

    Jokela, Markus Pekkarinen, Tuomas Sarvimäki, Matti Terviö, Marko and Uusitalo, Roope 2017. Secular rise in economically valuable personality traits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, Issue. 25, p. 6527.

    Poulain, Michel Chambre, Dany Herm, Anne and Pes, Gianni 2017. Anthropometric traits at military medical examinations associated with demographic family characteristics in Sardinia at the turn of twentieth century. The History of the Family, Vol. 22, Issue. 2-3, p. 310.

    Ramon-Muñoz, Ramon and Ramon-Muñoz, Josep-Maria 2017. Sibship size and the biological standard of living in industrial Catalonia, c.1860–c.1920: a case study. The History of the Family, Vol. 22, Issue. 2-3, p. 333.

    2016. A century of trends in adult human height. eLife, Vol. 5,

    Groß, Marcus 2016. Modeling body height in prehistory using a spatio-temporal Bayesian errors-in variables model. AStA Advances in Statistical Analysis, Vol. 100, Issue. 3, p. 289.

    Castillo, Eric R. Sang, Meshack K. Sigei, Timothy K. Dingwall, Heather L. Okutoyi, Paul Ojiambo, Robert Otárola-Castillo, Erik R. Pitsiladis, Yannis and Lieberman, Daniel E. 2016. Physical fitness differences between rural and urban children from western Kenya. American Journal of Human Biology, Vol. 28, Issue. 4, p. 514.

    Nicolau, Roser and Fatjó, Pedro 2016. Morbilidad y mortalidad de los soldados del ejército español, 1886-1933. Asclepio, Vol. 68, Issue. 1, p. p129.

    Strulik, Holger and Werner, Katharina 2016. 50 is the new 30—long-run trends of schooling and retirement explained by human aging. Journal of Economic Growth, Vol. 21, Issue. 2, p. 165.


Book description

Humans have become much taller and heavier, and experience healthier and longer lives than ever before in human history. However it is only recently that historians, economists, human biologists and demographers have linked the changing size, shape and capability of the human body to economic and demographic change. This fascinating and groundbreaking book presents an accessible introduction to the field of anthropometric history, surveying the causes and consequences of changes in health and mortality, diet and the disease environment in Europe and the United States since 1700. It examines how we define and measure health and nutrition as well as key issues such as whether increased longevity contributes to greater productivity or, instead, imposes burdens on society through the higher costs of healthcare and pensions. The result is a major contribution to economic and social history with important implications for today's developing world and the health trends of the future.


‘The scope of this book is breathtaking in its description of the remarkable changes in human constitutions in the Western World over the last 300 years at a pace never seen before in history. Written from a multidisciplinary perspective, it will inform and excite persons in the health and social sciences and give them a new and valuable perspective on modern human development.’

Nevin S. Scrimshaw - Massachusetts Institute of Technology and World Food Prize Laureate

'This contribution to a topic that is rarely out of the news for long is by four distinguished scholars, each an expert in his field, and one of them, Robert Fogel, is a winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics. Volumes produced as cooperative ventures can sometimes appear disjointed, but this is not the case here. There is a pleasing unity in style and presentation.'

Source: The Times Higher Education Supplement

'It has long been widely believed that the upper class look down on the middle and lower classes. Now science has established that this is literally, as well as figuratively, so. Thirty years of research by leading economists, biologists, historians and demographers has confirmed the towering status of the high and mighty. The Changing Body … concludes that there is a clear link between height and earnings. Increases in both, over the past 300 years, are greater than over the three preceding millennia, demonstrating that the changes are too rapid to be evolutionary. And the secret lies in nutrition.'

Source: The Independent

‘Rich, complex but surprisingly readable, The Changing Body is a paradigm-shifting contribution. A sub-discipline that began modestly by identifying height as a secondary indicator of wellbeing now provides a way to conceptualize economic, indeed human, progress.’

Jane Humphries - Oxford University

‘Roderick Floud and Robert Fogel pioneered the study of the links between nutrition, health, and individual productivity in the past. In this book they, and their two colleagues Bernard Harris and Sok Chul Hong, conduct a masterful survey of what has been achieved in this field in the past quarter century, providing persuasive and thought-provoking evidence whose importance has been greatly underrated.’

Tony Wrigley - University of Cambridge

‘The authors of The Changing Body demonstrate the value of anthropometric data and information on health and mortality to the understanding of long-term changes in the economic development of the US, England, France, and elsewhere in continental Europe. They provide important new insights into the causes and consequences of economic change in the modern world.’

Stanley L. Engerman - John H. Munro Professor of Economics and Professor of History, University of Rochester

'For nearly three decades, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert W. Fogel and a small clutch of colleagues have assiduously researched what the size and shape of the human body say about economic and social changes throughout history, and vice versa. Their research has spawned not only a new branch of historical study but also a provocative theory that technology has sped human evolution in an unprecedented way during the past century.'

Source: New York Times

'… one of the most comprehensive reviews of mankind’s development ever undertaken. Nobel Prize-winning US economist Robert Fogel and a team of colleagues spent three decades pulling together statistics to show how we have changed since 1700.'

Source: Daily Mail

‘The statistical analysis involved is subtle, sophisticated … The anthropometric approach to history described in this book is impressive and skilful, and is likely to become routine in the study of future influences on human development.’

Source: Nature

‘The Changing Body offers an authoritative summary of the field of technophysio evolution … [the authors] generate new insights into contemporary development processes.’

Source: Science

‘Applies a scientific rigour that is rarely encountered in historical work … Historians do not understand science, and scientists do not get history. Fortunately the twain meet in this work which offers a treasure trove for future scholars.’

Source: The London Magazine

'… a must-read for anyone interested in the insights that anthropometric history has produced in recent decades.'

Source: International Review of Social History

'… The Changing Body is a very important book … well written and organised … an excellent book that I will reread again and again for insight and inspiration.'

Source: Journal of Continuity and Change

    • Aa
    • Aa
Refine List
Actions for selected content:
Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive
  • Send content to

    To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to .

    To send content to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

    Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

    Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

    Please be advised that item(s) you selected are not available.
    You are about to send:

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 835 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 455 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.