Department of Anthropology, University of Auckland
Saturday All day, Plaza Level
This report examines the extent to which developmental timing, as marked by longitudinal estimates of height growth and menarche, influences final stature. A conundrum exists in human biology. Epidemiological studies routinely report positive associations between age at menarche and adult stature. Longitudinal studies, however, do not find significant differences in adult height of early and late maturing females as judged using estimates of age at peak growth velocity (APHV). One study using data from the Fels Longitudinal Growth Study reports a small but statistically significant difference in adult height related to age at menarche. The present study uses longitudinal data from two districts in Taipei,Taiwan, as well as from the Berkeley Guidance Study to examine whether similar relationships between longitudinally estimated measures of developmental timing, menarche, and final stature may be identified in groups with diverse developmental backgrounds. No significant relationship between adolescent developmental timing, either APHV or age at menarche, and final height was demonstrated in either data set (P > 0.10). Differences in mean adult height among girls in the two districts in Taipei could be accounted for by differences at primary school entry. Claims that rapid changes in developmental environment experienced as preadolescents may predispose individuals to reduced final heights because of earlier menarche receive no support.