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Anthropometrics of Mexican schoolchildren Paul R Earl Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León San Nicolás, NL 66450, Mexico.
Anthropometrics of Mexican schoolchildrenPaul R EarlFacultad de Ciencias BiológicasUniversidad Autónoma de Nuevo LeónSan Nicolás, NL 66450, Mexico
BackgroundSomatometrics or anthropometrics are body measurements, Height (H), Weight (W) and Body Mass Indexes (BMI) of student populations 6-16 years in Sabinas, Nuevo León, Progreso, Yucatán and for contrast Poznan, Poland are presented. Respective average Hs at 16 years were 170, 159 and 176 cm for boys and 159, 149 and 165 cm for girls. H for classic Mayan Indians is 161, 148 cm.
H is a measure of wellbeing. A growth lag for Progreso boys is found from 8-10 years, while the Progreso girls grow normaly from 7-13 years. Growth stops right after menarche. Female growth has a lawlike relations. Progreso girls of 6-16 years are shorter and relatively heavier than European and North American girls. Growth is steady in Progreso girls, while the boys are retarded. Shortness as usual can be due to malnutrition in the early years leading to stunting. Progreso boys and girls have high BMIs like 22, because of short legs likely relating to malnutrition.
Mexico can be divided into 1/ North, 2/ South, 3/ Center and 4/ Ciudad de Mexico. Essentially, most Mexicans are mestizos meaning that most have mixed Spanish and Indian blood. Poverty is found most in the Veracruzan coast, Yucatán, the center, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas. Indigenous Indians suffer longstanding unemployment, soil erosion and failure to develop industrial skills. Impoverished, high-fertility uneducated Mayan farmers permeate much of Central America. The obvious inequality is in the income differences between the industrialized north and the rural south with a consequent political division between the right and the left.
Mexicans are shorter and relatively heavier than Americans. Stunting via early-age malnutrition produces short people.Most studies do not include sitting height. It turns out that it is frankly necessary since H minus sitting height gives leg length (LL). LL is related to wellbeing. Poor environmental conditions in early life are associated with shortness. In all Mexican clinics, sitting height should be iniciated if data is to be generated to solve such problems.Northeastern Sabinas, Nuevo León has about 31,000 inhabitants in 2006. Progreso is a port city in the north of Yucatán on the Gulf of Mexico about 36 km from the state capital of Mérida. Sabinas of course like Progreso should be restudied with close attention to mortality.
Comparisons of the 3 populationsTable 1. The anthropometric averages from Sabinas at 6-16 years. HB height for boys, WB weight for girls, BMIB body mass index for boys and BMIG for girls.
What information can we gainThe growth of Mexican girls and boys calls for strong national reinvestigation, emphasizing stunting. Female growth slows to a stop just after menarche. Poznan, Sabinas and Progreso girls have menarche at 13-14 years. Clearly, when growth stops, menstruation has begun.Sitting height, the cephalic index, abdominal and hip circumferences, heart rate, oxygen saturation and arterial pressures can be added with strong emphasis on sitting height. Spirometric testing using a Wright peak flow spirometer is urged. For instance, the heavy air pollution from automobile traffic in Mexico City is a risk factor.
Longevity is much better in northern than southern Mexico. The physiques and life styles of Sabinas and Progreso children are markedly different. How H correlates to life expectancy and to speculative factors like income or food supply remains for future investigations. A very considerable handful of unknowns is confronted here at one same time.The main feature are shown in Figures 1-3. Progreso girls are stockier and shorter than Sabinas girls. Progreso boys are shorter and relatively heavier than Sabinas boys, yet not markedly differing in their BMIs. The precocity of girls is reflected by reaching 22 BMI early as in Figure 3. Something about the Progreso diet causes early fattening, or else final H is reached earlier. Not having the menarche age opens the door to speculation.
The applicibility of anthropology to healthA good physique including stature of course is the result of a healthful diet. This is what the French call a trueism ! For instance, WHO uses NHANES III as a standard for a wellfed population.H is used to interprete socioeconomic wellbeing. Tallness should associate with longevity. Can H be used to generate credible mortality data ?What other applications does anthropometrics have ?
Many countries still do not have reliable vital statistics even though infectious diseases may be better controlled. H cannot accurately substitute for regional mortalities, although it is far better than nothing. Malnutrition in the past and shortness in the presence are part of latin history. How is health improving ?Anthropometrics by region can aid greatly in health and civic planning. It can serve to create an interesting and socially productive morbidity. In its turn, this new morbidity will reveal those areas that need more attention.