Marital distance (MD), the geographical distance between birthplaces of spouses, is considered an agent favouring occurrence of heterosis and can be used as a measure of its level. Heterosis itself is a phenomenon of hybrid vigour and seems to be an important factor regulating human growth and development. The main aim of the study is to examine potential effects of MD on birth weight and length of offspring, controlling for socioeconomic status (SES), mother’s age and birth order. Birth weight (2562 boys and 2572 girls) and length (2526 boys, 2542 girls) of children born in Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski (Poland) in 1980, 1983, 1985 and 1988 were recorded during cross-sectional surveys carried out between 1994-1999. Data regarding the socio-demographic variables of families were provided by the parents. Analysis of covariance showed that MD significantly affected both birth weight and length, allowing for sex, birth order, mother’s age and SES of family. For both sexes, a greater marital distance was associated with a higher birth weight and a longer birth length. Our results support the hypothesis that a greater geographical distance between the birth places of parents may contribute to the heterosis effects in offspring. Better birth outcomes may be one of the manifestations of these effects.
The Trivers-Willard Hypothesis (TWH), frequently investigated by evolutionary psychologists, states that human beings may have evolved to produce a greater number of sons when having a high status, and a greater number of daughters when having a low status. To test this hypothesis, we examined the sex of children of Polish high status: kings, dukes, magnates families; and of low status: peasants, burghers and gentry. Our findings do not provide evidence for the Trivers-Willard Hypothesis (TWH), as there were no differences between offspring’s sex ratio among any of the investigated social classes (with the exception of magnates families). We draw our conclusions with caution, as historical data carry many limitations.
There is a long dispute among anthropologist over which factor is more important – skeletal maturation or energy accumulation – for menarche occurrence. Here we report results of longitudinal study conducted on the sample of 178 girls followed for the period from 2 years before to 2 years after the age of menarche. Each year during this period anthropometric measures of waist and hip circumference, pelvis breadth, subscapular, triceps and abdominal skinfold thickness were taken to document girls’ physical development. We found that changes in hip circumference and pelvis breadth were the most closely associated with menarche appearance. We also found that changes in anthropometric measures of lower body part preceded changes in anthropometric measures of upper body part and tended to peak one year before menarche occurrence while changes in upper body part tended to peak one year after menarche occurrence. These results suggest that both skeletal maturation and energy accumulation in the form of fat are equally important for menarche to occur. Furthermore, we are proposing a new indicator describing allometric changes of pelvis around menarche: hip circumference to pelvis breadth ratio (HCPBR).
The aim of this work is to evaluate the intensity of possible secular trends among the five subsequent cohorts of Wrocław (Poland) children aged 0, 6, 12 and 24 months. This document describes secular changes in the body length, weight and the Rohrer’s index.
Material: Research material represent the longitudinal studies of five consecutive birth cohorts. The first study involved children born during 1963-1965, and the last in 2003-2005. All of the studies were related to the same social group and were conducted using the same methodology.
There are differences in the intensity and direction of the secular trends in children depending on their age. In both sexes the body length of newborns kept increasing until the end of the nineties and decreased in the last decade. The body weight did not change during the 40-year period. This suggests an important role of maternal regulator in fetal development and therefore no clear response to external environmental factors. Secular changes such as the body length and weight, which are the most adequate to the economic changes in Poland, were observed in children aged 6 and 12 months. It may be a result of their highest ecosensitivity during this period. However, there have not been any clear trends observed in the 24 months age group. This may be due to the increasing participation of genetic factors in the development of the child.
Anthropometric, functional and physical activity characteristics of contemporary adult descendants of Upper Silesian immigrants to Texas in the mid-19th century and current residents in Upper Silesia were compared. The sample included 45 residents in Central Texas, 25 women and 20 men, and 36 residents in rural Upper Silesia, 24 women and 12 men, 54-76 years of age. Variables included selected demographic characteristics, anthropometry, estimated body composition, several physiological indicators, strength and functional fitness, and physical activity. Sex-specific MANCOVA and Chi square were used for comparisons. Descendants of Silesian immigrants to Texas were taller, on average, while differences in other anthropometric variables were variable. All residents in Silesia and the majority of descendants of Silesian migrants to Texas were overweight or obese. Differences in hemodynamic and respiratory functions and responses to a 6-minute walk were inconsistent, while none of the fitness variables differed significantly between the samples. Although residents in Upper Silesia were significantly more physically active descendants of Silesians in Texas, >80% of the men and women in both samples scored below the criterion-reference standard for the maintenance of physical independence in the 6-minute walk.
It is believed that the second to fourth finger length ratio is an indirect indicator of fetal testosterone levels. It is pointed out that there is a relationship between the 2nd to 4th finger length ratio and the body structure in women and men. Studies on the relationship between body composition and 2D:4D finger length among military students have not been carried out so far. The work aims to determine the dependence of body composition and the quotient of the 2nd and 4th fingers length of military students. The research material has been gathered as a result of examinations of women and men studying military subjects. The study involved 55 women and 65 men. The tests included anthropometric measurements (body height, body weight, length of the second and the fourth fingers) and body composition measurements. As a result of the tests, no dimorphic differentiations in the digit length ratio (2D:4D) was indicated. The BMI, muscle mass, lean body mass and water in the body demonstrated higher values in men than in women. However, the fat content in men was low. It was found that the relationship exists between muscle mass, lean mass and total water content in the body and the 2D:4D finger length ratio in the left hand in women. A higher level of fetal testosterone, characterized by lower values of the 2nd to 4th finger length ratio, may be associated with a higher content of muscle mass, lean body mass and water in the body of adult women leading a similar lifestyle.
Falls may occur in each ontogenesis phase, but they become more frequent in the elderly and lead to serious health consequences. Dynamic changes in senior citizens’ environment and lifestyle makes studies of risk for falls necessary. To determine the relationship between the risk for falls and the objective functional and structural examination in the elderly living in Poland. The research consisted of 196 females and 61 males aged 60-88 recruited from health clinics, senior citizen centers and Universities of the Third Age between 2009-2012. Following parameters were collected: functional physical tests “30 second Chair Stand Test” and Timed Up and Go Test”, the flexor muscles and knee extensors force, the bone mineral density was measured in distal radius of the forearm with the EXA - 3000, the total risk for fall assessed by 5 tests by abbreviated version of Fallscreen test. Multiple linear regression and linear correlation were used for assessment of relationship with total estimated risk for fall and other parameters. The subjects displayed significant dimorphic differences within the range of the functional parameters and bone mineral density to the advantage of males. Only in women results revealed a significant link between the risk for falls and the dynamic balance, as well as the maximum quadricep muscle force equal. Strength of the lower limb muscles seems to be critical for decreasing the risk for fall. Special programs for strengthening this part of the body for older people should be elaborate.
Many studies worldwide have shown that social factors are significantly associated with growth in childhood. However, very few researchers studied influence of social factors on body length proportions. The aim of the present study was the assessment how urbanization level, sibship size and parental education may affect body length proportions in schoolchildren. 325 boys and 335 girls aged 7-18 years were measured in schools in Wrocław, two small towns and villages around these towns. Height, sitting height, leg length , and lower leg length were measured in all children, then relative lengths (in relation to height) were calculated: leg, femur, lower leg, estimated leg and lower leg length to leg length ratio. Height was standardized on age using LMS parameters for CDC 2002 year cohort. Other indices were standardized on age by using residuals variance derived from linear regressions. Four-way analysis of variance was used for height and each index, where independent variables were four social factors. Except for father’s education in boys, no other social factor was significant associated with height. Urbanization level significantly differed almost all indices, whereas father’s education level was significantly associated with relative leg length in girls and estimated leg length in both sexes. Our study has shown that the segments of lower limb seems to be more sensitive than height to the effect of social factors. In Lower Silesia, the level of urbanization is still related to differences in environmental conditions, enough to significantly affect growth of children, especially within the segments of lower limbs.
The purpose of the study was to compare the blood pressure of rural-to-urban migrants and the sedentary population (non-migratory) of the city of Wrocław, Poland. Additionally, the effect of time spent in the rural area on blood pressure was also assessed. The study sample consisted of 2753 males aged 25-75 years, following a medical examination, underwent an interview and anthropometric measurements between 1989-90. Based on the place of origin all males were divided into rural-to-urban migrant inhabitants of Wrocław (N=1222) and sedentary inhabitants of Wrocław (N=921). The percentage of time spent in the rural area [(time spent in rural area/age)*100] was then calculated and was used in analysis. In each age category, the rural-urban migrants were found to be shorter in height. Age, BMI, level of education and time of migration had a significant effect on both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure irrespective of the level of education. It was demonstrated that the time of migration, allowing for age, body size and education level, significantly correlated with blood pressure. The later in time, the males migrated from rural to urban areas, the higher their blood pressure. It was hypothesized that unhealthy behavior could still have continued in a new urban environment, resulting in migrant - sedentary differences in health parameters.
South Africa underwent major social and economic change between 1987 and 1995. The release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990 proclaimed an end to the political system of apartheid, and the first freely elected non-White government in 1994 instigated social and economic reforms aimed at alleviating the consequences of apartheid. This paper aims to examine the impact of these socio-economic and political changes on height, weight and body mass index (BMI) in childhood and late adolescence. An analysis was carried out of longitudinal data of 258 urban and rural South African Cape Coloured schoolchildren (6-18 years old) across the transitional periods from apartheid between 1987 and 1990, to this transition between 1991 and 1993, and finally to post-apartheid between 1994 and 1995. The anthropometric measures were standardized into age independent Z-scores. Analyses of variance with repeated measures were conducted to examine the growth in height, weight and BMI across these periods. The results show a significant main effect of measurement periods on height, weight and BMI Z-scores. Across time, the subjects increased in overall size, height, weight and BMI. For all the anthropometric measures there was a significant interaction effect between measurement period and sex, but none between measurement period and SES. The average increase in height, weight and BMI across time differed significantly for girls and boys, the average z-scores being greater in girls than in boys. For boys, there was little difference in height, weight and BMI Z-scores according to SES, and little increase across periods. Girls were generally taller, heavier with greater BMI than boys, and their scores increased across the time periods. High SES girls were taller, heavier and had higher BMI than low SES girls. Across the measurement periods, BMI and weight somewhat converged between the high and low SES girls. In the discussion these differences reflecting social sex distinctions are addressed.