Long-term changes in body proportions since 1952 to 2011 in children and adolescents from Kolkata (India)

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Research Article

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Anthropologischer Anzeiger


The aim of this study was to investigate the intergenerational changes of the selected body proportions of children and adolescents from Kolkata (India). The analysis was based on anthropometric measurements of 7488 Bengali children (4222 boys and 3266 girls), aged 7–19, from the middle-class families. The cohorts from 1952–66 and 1999–2011, as well as series of boys from 1982–83, were compared in terms of body height, subischial leg length, biacromial width, biiliac width, reciprocal ponderal index (RPI), skelic index, pelvi-acromial index, shoulder-height ratio, pelvis-height ratio. The significance of the differences was determined by two-way ANOVA. All features, in both sexes, significantly differed between the 1952–66 and 1999–2011 cohorts. A general positive secular trend was observed for subischial leg length, biacromial width, and biiliac width and skelic index. Negative overall intergenerational changes were noted in the pelvi-acromial index, biacromial and biiliac width to body height ratio and RPI. In boys, the 1982–83 and 1999–2011 cohorts differed significantly only in the RPI. Between the 1952–66 and 1982–83 series the differences in subischial leg length, biacromial width, biiliac width (in older boys) and pelvi-acromial index (some age groups) were significant. Observed diversification of body proportions most likely results from the improvement of developmental conditions related to the socio-economic progress of India. However, increasing stoutness, visible in the RPI values, especially associated with its fatness, raises the risk of many health problems and diseases, even at the young age.

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