Secular changes in limb lengths and proportions from 1952 to 2011 in children, adolescents, and young adults from Kolkata (India)

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

American Journal of Human Biology


Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate the intergenerational changes of upper and lower limb lengths as well as the values of the upper, lower limb, and intermembral indicators of children, adolescents, and young adults from Kolkata (India) between 1952 to 1966 and 2005 to 2011. Methods: The analysis was based on the results of anthropometric measurements of 7488 Bengali children, adolescents, and young adults. They were included in three cross-sectional surveys, carried out in 1955 to 1966, 1982 to 1983 (only males), and 2005 to 2011. The upper and lower limb lengths were obtained and the upper and lower limb indicators, as well as an intermembral index, were calculated. The differences between the cohorts were assessed using two-way ANOVA. Results: Positive, statistically significant, secular trends regarding the length of the lower and upper limbs as well as the value of the lower limb index were observed. Negative intergenerational changes were noted for the values of the upper limb indicator and intermembral index, suggesting that the secular increase of the length of the upper limbs was less pronounced than those of the body height and lower limbs length. Conclusions: The secular increase regarding the lower limbs length was associated with the socioeconomic progress of the country, but the length of the upper limbs was less sensitive for those factors. It is also important to mention that there is still very little information on those characteristics in general, which further proves the need for similar studies.



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