Secular trend in stature in the Portuguese population (1904-2000)
Author: Padez C.
Source: Annals of Human Biology, Volume 30, Number 3, May-June 2003 , pp. 262-278(17)
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Abstract:The records of height of 995 101 18-year-old Portuguese males were analysed as well as the relation between localities of the subject's residence (districts) and final height. The sample includes all the Portuguese 18-year-old males born between 1966 and 1982 and examined between 1985 and 2000, in the north, centre and south of Portugal, representing all the social strata. Statistically significant differences (p 0.001) among the districts were found: males from Lisboa (172.79 cm) and Braga (172.67 cm), the most developed districts, are the tallest, and those from Madeira (170.67 cm), Castelo Branco, Leiria and Coimbra (171.31 cm) are the shortest. Comparing to published data from 1904, a positive secular trend in height was found. The average increase was 8.93 cm, which yields a rate of 0.99 cm per decade. This positive trend must be related to the general improvement in the population's standard living conditions that took place in Portugal mainly after the 1960s and 1970s, especially in terms of nutrition and the health system. However, taking into account the differences that still exist in mean height values between the districts, these results suggest that there are still great social inequalities in Portugal and the secular trend in height will continue for the Portuguese population in future decades.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2003-05-01