“The body proportions of the German population have changed significantly in the last decades – today we are on average taller and heftier than our parents and grandparents,” the study said.
The result of getting fatter and taller as a Volk is that many Germans struggle to find clothes that fit properly, a problem that fuelled the SizeGERMANY project, researchers said.
According to the findings released on Tuesday, the last widespread body measurements for women took place in 1994. In these 15 years, female Germans between the ages of 14 and 70 have grown an average of 1.0 centimetres taller, 2.3 centimetres broader in the chest, 4.1 centimetres thicker in the waist, and 1.8 centimetres wider in the hips.
German men were last measured in 1980. Since then, 16 to 70-year-olds have grown significantly larger than women, registering 3.2 centimetres in additional height, 7.3 centimetres in chest width, 4.4 centimetres in belly girth, and 3.6 centimetres more in their hips.
Almost 100 clothing makers and other firms from other industries with an interest in ergonomics – such as German carmaker BMW – have paid to access the new numbers, SizeGERMANY said. Many plan to adjust their sizing to suit target audiences like the elderly or teenagers, researchers said.
The new measurements mirror a 2007 report from the International Association for the Study of Obesity, which found that Germans are the fattest people in Europe. Some 59 percent of women and 75.4 percent of men are carrying at least a few extra pounds.
The project, conducted by international textile research centre the Hohenstein Instute and Human Solutions GmbH, measured some 13,362 anonymous German men, women and children between the ages of 6 and 87 in 2007 and 2008. Experts at stations across the country used a 3-D body scanner that took dozens of measurements for clothing and ergonomic sizing, in addition to demographic information.