A nation that has produced sumo wrestlers for hundreds of years cannot have grown taller merely by abandoning a vegetarian diet as was suggested by Peter Popham (Modern Times, 8 January). A more plausible explanation is simply prosperity, which means that people are better fed than before. However, by adopting a meat diet, Japan has succumbed to meat-related diseases. Ironic, given that millions of people in the West are giving up meat and becoming vegetarians for health reasons.

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