The pace of secular changes of body measurements of children and adolescents from Kolkata (India) in the context of socioeconomic inequalities between the sexes

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

American Journal of Human Biology


Objectives: To examine the pace of secular changes of selected body measurements and proportions of children and adolescents from Kolkata (India), between 1952–1966 and 1999–2011 in the context of differences between the sexes. Methods: The study group consisted of 7753 children, adolescents and young adults (7–21 years of age) included in two series of studies (1952–1966 and 2005–2011). The measurements included: body height, sitting height, biacromial and biiliocristal diameters, as well as body mass. Additionally, subishial leg length was derived. The pace of the observed intergenerational trends was estimated on the basis of the differences of the mean values of the analyzed characteristics between both cohorts and expressed as the change of a given parameter for a decade. Information regarding the educational and professional status of the parents of participants was obtained using a questionnaire. Results: In the majority of the analyzed characteristics, the pace of intergenerational changes was significantly higher among males, in comparison to females. It was visible especially during adolescence—between 11 and 19 years of age. The positive trends, especially, for characteristics such as body height or limb lengths occurred significantly quicker in males, in comparison to females. Conclusions: There were significant differences between the sexes in the pace of secular changes regarding the growth of the examined population. Considering the relatively homogenous economic situation of the families of the participants, it was more likely that those discrepancies effected from the social and domestic division of sexes, and the resulting differences in growth and development conditions.



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