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Variability of height, weight and body mass index in a Swiss Armed Forces 2005 census


Rühli, Frank J; Henneberg, Maciej; Woitek, Ulrich (2008). Variability of height, weight and body mass index in a Swiss Armed Forces 2005 census. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 137(4):457-468.

Abstract

The influence of the environment and genetics on individual biological characteristics such as body mass and stature is well known. Many studies of these relationships have been based on conscript data. These studies often suffer from the fact that their data cover only a part of the population. Characterized by prosperity, democratic stability and enormous micro-regional cultural diversity, Switzerland is in the unique situation of offering data covering more than 80% of annual male birth cohorts.
The aim of this study is to assess the impact of socio-economic success, cultural differences, month of birth and altitude (among other factors) on individual anthropometric characteristics of conscripts (N~28,000) in the 2005 census. Our result highlights in such a large male sample the relationship between economic environment, regional cultural diversity, climate and other factors such as individual month of birth on stature and weight. Socioeconomic status, culture (as reflected by mother tongue) and month of birth were found to have significant effects on height and weight, while altitude did not show such effects. In general, weight is more affected by all these variables than height. Taking weight-dependent mortality and morbidity into account, it is of foremost
public interest to know more about paired effects of living conditions on stature and weight in a highly developed society.

The influence of the environment and genetics on individual biological characteristics such as body mass and stature is well known. Many studies of these relationships have been based on conscript data. These studies often suffer from the fact that their data cover only a part of the population. Characterized by prosperity, democratic stability and enormous micro-regional cultural diversity, Switzerland is in the unique situation of offering data covering more than 80% of annual male birth cohorts.
The aim of this study is to assess the impact of socio-economic success, cultural differences, month of birth and altitude (among other factors) on individual anthropometric characteristics of conscripts (N~28,000) in the 2005 census. Our result highlights in such a large male sample the relationship between economic environment, regional cultural diversity, climate and other factors such as individual month of birth on stature and weight. Socioeconomic status, culture (as reflected by mother tongue) and month of birth were found to have significant effects on height and weight, while altitude did not show such effects. In general, weight is more affected by all these variables than height. Taking weight-dependent mortality and morbidity into account, it is of foremost
public interest to know more about paired effects of living conditions on stature and weight in a highly developed society.

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15 citations in Web of Science®
16 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of History
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
900 History
330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:20 Feb 2009 10:44
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:03
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0002-9483
Additional Information:The attached file is a preprint (accepted version) of an article published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology 137(4):457-468.
Publisher DOI:10.1002/ajpa.20889
PubMed ID:18668685
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-14376

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