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Final height, target height and the community


Hermanussen, M; Aßmann, C; Groth, D; Staub, Kaspar (2014). Final height, target height and the community. Georgian medical news, (230):30-34.

Abstract

Height varies with age, and it varies with historic time. Final height is determined by endocrine parameters and genetics, by nutrition and health, by environmental factors, by birth weight, early growth, BMI, and developmental tempo. European populations of the 19th century were short, but their shortness did not result from growth impairment at all ages. In those days, shortness was mainly due to a significantly blunted adolescent growth spurt. New modelling approaches suggest an independent regulation of adolescent growth and final height: the target for growth and final height appears to be set by the community. In order to test this hypothesis, we formed a geographic network of Switzerland consisting of 169 nodes (district capitals) and 335 connecting edges (roads), and investigated military conscript data obtained between 2004 and 2009. Average height of Swiss military conscripts was 178.2 cm (SD 6.5 cm). But conscripts from first order neighbouring districts were more similar in height than expected. Short stature districts have short, tall stature districts have tall neighbours. We found significant height correlations between 1st (r=0.58), 2nd (r=0.64), 3rd (r=0.45) and even 4th order neighbours (r=0.42). It appears that tall stature communities generate tall people, short stature communities generate short people, and migrants orientate towards the new height target of their host population (community effect on growth).

Abstract

Height varies with age, and it varies with historic time. Final height is determined by endocrine parameters and genetics, by nutrition and health, by environmental factors, by birth weight, early growth, BMI, and developmental tempo. European populations of the 19th century were short, but their shortness did not result from growth impairment at all ages. In those days, shortness was mainly due to a significantly blunted adolescent growth spurt. New modelling approaches suggest an independent regulation of adolescent growth and final height: the target for growth and final height appears to be set by the community. In order to test this hypothesis, we formed a geographic network of Switzerland consisting of 169 nodes (district capitals) and 335 connecting edges (roads), and investigated military conscript data obtained between 2004 and 2009. Average height of Swiss military conscripts was 178.2 cm (SD 6.5 cm). But conscripts from first order neighbouring districts were more similar in height than expected. Short stature districts have short, tall stature districts have tall neighbours. We found significant height correlations between 1st (r=0.58), 2nd (r=0.64), 3rd (r=0.45) and even 4th order neighbours (r=0.42). It appears that tall stature communities generate tall people, short stature communities generate short people, and migrants orientate towards the new height target of their host population (community effect on growth).

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:May 2014
Deposited On:24 Aug 2014 08:05
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:20
Publisher:Georgian Medical News
ISSN:1512-0112
PubMed ID:24940854

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