Yes he has blonde hair and blue eyes, but is Erling Haaland albino?
In fact what actually makes someone albino?
Because lots of people in Scandinavia have blonde hair and blue eyes, right?
We take a closer look at this question in today’s blog.
Is Erling Haaland Albino?
No Erling Haaland is not albino. He does have blonde hair and blue eyes, but this is thought to be the case with anywhere between 50% and 80% of people from Norway. People with albinism often suffer from vision problems that range from mild to serious, Erling Haaland does not.
What is Albinism?
Just because someone has blonde hair and blue eyes, it does not make them albino!
Yes, people with albinism do usually have very light skin, hair and eyes, but there is much more to it than that.
People with albinism often have a number of other symptoms, including:
- Eyes that are sensitive to light.
- A lazy eye.
- Vision problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, reduced vision due to abnormal development of the retina, blurred vision and poor depth perception.
- Subtle head movements, such as bobbing and tilting to try and see better.
- Sensitivity to the sun.
- An increased risk of developing skin cancer.
People with albinism have a reduced level of melanin in their body. Melanin is the pigment that gives color to skin, hair and eyes, and the amount of melanin your body produces determines these colours.
Melanin also is important in the development of optic nerves, which is why many people with albinism also have vision problems.
Often someone with albinism has inherited the gene for it from both their mother and father, who carry no symptoms.
It is estimated that around 1 in 17,000 people worldwide suffer from albinism, although this ratio varies widely from country to country.
In Europe and USA it is thought 1 in 20,000 are albino, whereas the rates are as high as 1 in 1,000 in parts of Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.
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Why Do People From Scandinavia Have Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes?
So as you can see, albinism is actually a much more serious condition than simply having fair hair and light-colored eyes.
It also generally brings with it vision problems ranging from mild to severe, including blindness.
And if having fair hair and light eyes was the only symptom of albinism, then the majority of Erling Haaland’s countrymen in Norway would be albino!
It is estimated that anywhere between 50% and 75% of the Norwegian population have blonde hair and 55% and 80% have blue eyes!
The prevalence of blonde hair and blue eyes amongst Norwegian people, and Scandinavian people comes down to the climate and natural selection.
When we are exposed to sunlight our skin produces melanin, which acts as a natural sunscreen to block the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun.
On top of that people with lighter skin can generate vitamin D (which keeps bones, teeth and muscles healthy) more easily, needing less exposure to the sun to generate it than people with darker skin.
Thus the long dark winters of Scandinavia were more favourable for people with lighter skin pigmentation.
Over hundreds of years, their genes prevailed as opposed to those of people with darker skin pigmentation.
In a typical case of survival of the fittest, the people with light skin pigmentation in these areas survived and the people with dark skin pigmentation gradually died out.
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The short answer is Erling Haaland is not albino.
He does have blonde hair and blue eyes, but this is not unusual as many Scandinavians are blonde-haired or light-pigmented.
The main issue for people with albinism is vision problems, but aside from that people with the condition are just as healthy as anyone else.
In fact this is shown by some of the inspirational stories shared by those affected on the People With Albinism website, which are well worth a read!