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Sex dimorphism in growth


Gasser, Theo; Sheehy, A; Molinari, L; Largo, R H (2000). Sex dimorphism in growth. Annals of Human Biology, 27(2):187-197.

Abstract

While there is agreement that sex differences in height are small up to the onset of the pubertal spurt in girls, there has been some debate about the question of which, and to what extent, various growth phases contribute to the average adult sex difference of about 13 cm. There has been no consistent agreement between authors as to what extent this difference is due to the late onset of the pubertal spurt (PS) for boys and to what extent it is due to their more intense PS. In this paper, we investigate this question for the variables height, sitting and leg height, arm length, bihumeral and biiliac width. Biiliac width is a special case since both sexes have roughly the same adult size, but girls still have a shorter growing period. The gains for boys, when compared to girls, show a very different pattern across variables: for the legs, the additional growth due to the later spurt is responsible for most of the adult sex difference (64%). On the other hand, for bihumeral width and sitting height, the more intense PS contributes almost 50% to the adult sex difference. An analysis across variables indicates that increments from 1.5 to 6 years largely compensate for deviations in infant morphology from adult morphology.

Abstract

While there is agreement that sex differences in height are small up to the onset of the pubertal spurt in girls, there has been some debate about the question of which, and to what extent, various growth phases contribute to the average adult sex difference of about 13 cm. There has been no consistent agreement between authors as to what extent this difference is due to the late onset of the pubertal spurt (PS) for boys and to what extent it is due to their more intense PS. In this paper, we investigate this question for the variables height, sitting and leg height, arm length, bihumeral and biiliac width. Biiliac width is a special case since both sexes have roughly the same adult size, but girls still have a shorter growing period. The gains for boys, when compared to girls, show a very different pattern across variables: for the legs, the additional growth due to the later spurt is responsible for most of the adult sex difference (64%). On the other hand, for bihumeral width and sitting height, the more intense PS contributes almost 50% to the adult sex difference. An analysis across variables indicates that increments from 1.5 to 6 years largely compensate for deviations in infant morphology from adult morphology.

Citations

11 citations in Web of Science®
10 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2000
Deposited On:23 Jul 2015 08:54
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:19
Publisher:Informa Healthcare
ISSN:0301-4460
PubMed ID:10768423

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