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Change in mean height of Thai military recruits from 1972 through 2006.

Seubsman SA, Sleigh AC - J Epidemiol (2009)

Bottom Line: We compared the height trend in Thailand to those noted in Europe, and discuss the former in the context of improvements in living circumstances in Thailand.Over this period child nutrition improved, infection and mortality rates declined, and preventive health services expanded.The combined effect of these factors is indicated by the increased adult height of Thai military recruits.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Human Ecology and Thai Health Promotion Centre, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Nonthaburi, Thailand.

ABSTRACT

Background: Records in Western countries reveal that adult height has been increasing over the last 250 years. These height gains have been biologically associated with healthier childhoods, less illness, and longer life spans-a health-risk transition. To measure such progress in Thailand we studied height change over the last 3 decades.

Methods: We analyzed height records for 33 000 21-year-old male military recruits, sampling 1000 per year from 1972 through 2006. We compared the height trend in Thailand to those noted in Europe, and discuss the former in the context of improvements in living circumstances in Thailand.

Results: Over 35 years, mean height increased from 164.4 to 169.2 cm, an increment of nearly 5 cm. The height increase was negligible in the first decade (1972-1981), but substantially accelerated after that. In the period after 1990 the increase exceeded 3 cm. A similar overall height gain in Britain occurred over a much longer period (1750-1886).

Conclusions: The increase in height among Thai men is biological evidence that a Thai health-risk transition-defined by both changing risks and outcomes-is well underway for height. Military recruits born during the 1960s through the 1980s had progressively healthier childhoods. Over this period child nutrition improved, infection and mortality rates declined, and preventive health services expanded. The combined effect of these factors is indicated by the increased adult height of Thai military recruits.

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Fitted curves for Thai male military height increase over time from 1972
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fig03: Fitted curves for Thai male military height increase over time from 1972

Mentions: The 2 trend equations—the cubic and compound models—demonstrated a reasonably good fit for the historical 35-year height data (Figure 3). The equations and parameters are shown in Table 2. The compound model projection is well below the observed values near the end of the study period; the cubic model projection is slightly higher during the same period. It is possible that future gains in height will follow the trajectory of such historical curves.


Change in mean height of Thai military recruits from 1972 through 2006.

Seubsman SA, Sleigh AC - J Epidemiol (2009)

Fitted curves for Thai male military height increase over time from 1972
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3924109&req=5

fig03: Fitted curves for Thai male military height increase over time from 1972
Mentions: The 2 trend equations—the cubic and compound models—demonstrated a reasonably good fit for the historical 35-year height data (Figure 3). The equations and parameters are shown in Table 2. The compound model projection is well below the observed values near the end of the study period; the cubic model projection is slightly higher during the same period. It is possible that future gains in height will follow the trajectory of such historical curves.

Bottom Line: We compared the height trend in Thailand to those noted in Europe, and discuss the former in the context of improvements in living circumstances in Thailand.Over this period child nutrition improved, infection and mortality rates declined, and preventive health services expanded.The combined effect of these factors is indicated by the increased adult height of Thai military recruits.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Human Ecology and Thai Health Promotion Centre, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Nonthaburi, Thailand.

ABSTRACT

Background: Records in Western countries reveal that adult height has been increasing over the last 250 years. These height gains have been biologically associated with healthier childhoods, less illness, and longer life spans-a health-risk transition. To measure such progress in Thailand we studied height change over the last 3 decades.

Methods: We analyzed height records for 33 000 21-year-old male military recruits, sampling 1000 per year from 1972 through 2006. We compared the height trend in Thailand to those noted in Europe, and discuss the former in the context of improvements in living circumstances in Thailand.

Results: Over 35 years, mean height increased from 164.4 to 169.2 cm, an increment of nearly 5 cm. The height increase was negligible in the first decade (1972-1981), but substantially accelerated after that. In the period after 1990 the increase exceeded 3 cm. A similar overall height gain in Britain occurred over a much longer period (1750-1886).

Conclusions: The increase in height among Thai men is biological evidence that a Thai health-risk transition-defined by both changing risks and outcomes-is well underway for height. Military recruits born during the 1960s through the 1980s had progressively healthier childhoods. Over this period child nutrition improved, infection and mortality rates declined, and preventive health services expanded. The combined effect of these factors is indicated by the increased adult height of Thai military recruits.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus