Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Secular trends in growth

  • T. J. Cole (a1)
Abstract

Since the 19th century there have been clearly documented secular trends to increasing adult height in most European countries, with current rates of 10–30 mm / decade. Over the same period menarcheal age has also fallen steeply, but has now stabilized at approximately 13 years and may be rising again. Height trends tend to be greater in childhood than in adulthood due to the associated advance in maturation, but no trends are apparent before the age of 2 years. In particular, birth-weight trends are small and different in shape from height trends. The adult height trend matches that at age 2 years, so that the increment in adult height has already been achieved by age 2 years. To try to identify factors relating to the secular trend, increased height gain in late infancy is hypothesized to be equivalent to a reduction in stunting, and stunting is thought to be caused by impaired growth in the long bones of the leg in later infancy. Leg growth may be regulated by the expression of growth-hormone receptors on the growth plates, which it is hypothesized are susceptible to the interaction between concurrent nutrition and the nominal growth rate set during pregnancy. The timing of menarche is also likely to be determined by some growth factor operating near the time of birth, which also affects later weight, but not height.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Secular trends in growth
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Secular trends in growth
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Secular trends in growth
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Professor T. J. Cole, fax +44 (0)20 7242 2723, email Tim.Cole@ich.ucl.ac.uk
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S Chinn , RJ Rona & CE Price (1989) The secular trend in height of primary school children in England and Scotland 1972–79 and 1979–86. Annals of Human Biology 16, 387395.

PE Clayton , MS Gill , CM Hall , V Tillmann , AJ Whatmore & DA Price (1997) Serum leptin through childhood and adolescence. Clinical Endocrinology 46, 727733.

TJ Cole (2000) Galton's midparent height revisited. Annals of Human Biology 27, (In the Press).

I Emanuel , H Filakti , E Alberman & SJW Evans (1992) Intergenerational studies of human birthweight from the 1958 birth cohort. 1. Evidence for a multigenerational effect. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 99, 6774.

RW Fogel (1993) New sources and new techniques for the study of secular trends in nutritional status, health, mortality, and the process of aging. Historical Methods 26, 543.

JM Foster , S Chinn & RJ Rona (1983) The relation of the height of primary school children to population density. International Journal of Epidemiology 12, 199204.

RE Frisch & R Revelle (1970) Height and weight at menarche and a hypothesis of critical body weights and adolescent events. Science 169, 397399.

F Galton (1886) Regression towards mediocrity in hereditary stature. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 15, 246263.

WJ Gerver , Bruin R De & NM Drayer (1994) A persisting secular trend for body measurements in Dutch children. The Oosterwolde II Study. Acta Paediatrica 83, 812814.

RC Hauspie , M Vercauteren & C Susanne (1997) Secular changes in growth and maturation: an update. Acta Paediatrica Suppl. 423, 2027.

P Helm & L Grølund (1998) A halt in the secular trend towards earlier menarche in Denmark. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 77, 198200.

P Helm & S Helm (1987) Uncertainties in designation of age at menarche in the nineteenth century, revised mean for Denmark, 1835. Annals of Human Biology 14, 371374.

E Hennessy & E Alberman (1998) Intergenerational influences affecting birth outcome. I Birthweight for gestational age in the children of the 1958 British Birth Cohort. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 12, Suppl. 1, 4560.

J Karlberg (1989) A biologically oriented mathematical model (ICP) for human growth. Acta Paediatrica Scandinavica Suppl. 350, 7094.

DL Kuh , C Power & B Rodgers (1991) Secular trends in social class and sex differences in adult height. International Journal of Epidemiology 20, 10011009.

DL Kuh & M Wadsworth (1989) Parental height: childhood environment and subsequent adult height in a national birth cohort. International Journal of Epidemiology 18, 663668.

T Laska-Mierzejewska , H Milicer & H Piechaczek (1982) Age at menarche and its secular trend in urban and rural girls in Poland. Annals of Human Biology 9, 227233.

K Liestøl (1982) Social conditions and menarcheal age: the importance of early years of life. Annals of Human Biology 9, 521537.

K Liestøl & M Rosenberg (1995) Height, weight and menarcheal age of schoolgirls in Oslo – an update. Annals of Human Biology 22, 199205.

HE Meyer & R Selmer (1999) Income, educational level and body height. Annals of Human Biology 26, 219227.

M Ounsted , A Scott & C Ounsted (1986) Transmission through the female line of a mechanism constraining human fetal growth. Annals of Human Biology 13, 143151.

AH Rimpelä & MK Rimpelä (1993) Towards an equal distribution of health? Socioeconomic and regional differences of the secular trend of the age of menarche in Finland from 1979 to 1989. Acta Paediatrica 82, 8790.

AF Roche (1979) Secular trends in human growth, maturation, and development. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 44, 1120.

M Rosenberg (1988) Birth weights in three Norwegian cities, 1860–1984. Secular trends and influencing factors. Annals of Human Biology 15, 275288.

IM Schmidt , MH Jørgensen & KF Michaelsen (1995) Height of conscripts in Europe: is postneonatal mortality a predictor? Annals of Human Biology 22, 5767.

JM Tanner (1992) Growth as a measure of the nutritional and hygienic status of a population. Hormone Research 38, Suppl. 1, 106115.

JM Tanner , T Hayashi , MA Preece & N Cameron (1982) Increase in length of leg relative to trunk in Japanese children and adults from 1957 to 1977: comparison with British and with Japanese Americans. Annals of Human Biology 9, 411423.

RP Troiano , KM Flegal , RJ Kuczmarski , SM Campbell & CL Johnson (1995) Overweight prevalence and trends for children and adolescents. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1963 to 1991. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 149, 10851091.

WP Ward & PC Ward (1984) Infant birth weight and nutrition in industrializing Montreal. American Historical Review 89, 324345.

G Weber , H Seidler , H Wilfing & G Hauser (1995) Secular change in height in Austria: an effect of population stratification? Annals of Human Biology 22, 277288.

GW Weber , H Prossinger & H Seidler (1998) Height depends on month of birth. Nature 391, 754755.

R Wellens , RM Malina , G Beunen & J Lefevre (1990) Age at menarche in Flemish girls: current status and secular change in the 20th century. Annals of Human Biology 17, 145152.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
  • ISSN: 0029-6651
  • EISSN: 1475-2719
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords: