Obesity is of significant and growing concern among Australian Aboriginal children, and is linked to patterns of child growth. The aim of this paper is to show diverse patterns of growth and obesity emergence among Australian Aboriginal children using historical anthropometric data. Child growth in height, weight and body mass index (BMI) is reanalysed for children aged 2 to 19 years in Australian Aboriginal communities spanning two distinct time periods (the 1950s and 1960s; and the 1990s and 2000s) and six different geographical locations: Yuendumu, Haast’s Bluff, Beswick, Kalumburu, Gerard, and Raukkan. Comparisons of stature and BMI between the earlier and later years of measurement were made, and the proportion of children classified as overweight or obese by the International Obesity Task Force criteria estimated, to allow international comparison. Aboriginal children in the 1990s and 2000s were heavier, with higher BMI than those in the 1950s and 1960s, differences in height being less marked. While no children were classified as overweight or obese in the earlier period, 15% of males and 3% of females were classified so in the later period. The data suggests that the period of onset of the epidemic of overweight and obesity among rural Australian Aboriginal children was likely to have been between the 1960s and 1980s.
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.