a1 Department of Anthropology, University School of Physical Education in Krakow, Poland
This study examined the secular changes in height, body weight, body mass index and pubertal development in male children and adolescents in Krakow (Poland) over the past 80 years, with an emphasis on the last decade (2000–2010). The survey of the population of Krakow is a continuation of observations conducted in that area for many years. The analysis aims to determine whether in the last decade Krakow still witnessed the secular trend, and what form the trend took. The body height and weight, and body mass index (BMI), of 1862 boys aged 3.5–18.5 years were analysed, against the background of a survey series from the years 1938 (N=1801), 1971 (N=2045), 1983 (N=3124) and 2000 (N=2328). The mean body height, in almost all age categories, was greater than in the past; however the final height over the last decade remained the same. The mean values of body weight and BMI increased, especially in the last decade. Also, an acceleration of puberty in boys was observed. The last 10 years saw an over 3-month decrease in the age of initial appearance of pubic hair in boys. In conclusion, the last decade saw cessation of the growing taller trend: maximum body height stabilized at approximately 179 cm, but weight and BMI increased. Also, a distinct acceleration of puberty was noticed. Lack of height increase, at the same time as weight gain and puberty acceleration, indicate a progressing developmental disharmony.
(Online publication December 22 2011)