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.