The average height of children is an indicator for the quality of nutrition and health care. Heights have never declined over longer time spans in Eastern Germany since 1880 - except for the most recent period 1997-2006. In the Eastern German Land of Brandenburg, a data set of 253,050 pre-school height measurements was compiled and complemented with information on parents' schooling and employment status. Unemployment might have negative psychological effects, with impact on health care. Both a panel analysis of districts and an assessment at the individual level yield the result that increasing unemployment was in fact the major driving force.