Smoking behaviour and biological maturation in males and females: a 20-year longitudinal study. Analysis of data from the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study

Ann Hum Biol. 2001 Nov-Dec;28(6):634-48. doi: 10.1080/03014460110047973.


Primary objective: (1) Describe the longitudinal smoking behaviour of boys and girls during adolescence in relation to calendar age, skeletal age, years from peak height velocity (PHV) and years from menarche (in girls). (2) and (3) Investigate the timing of biological maturation (early or late maturation) in relation to smoking behaviour in adolescence and in adulthood (i.e. calendar age 32/33). HPOTHESIS: We hypothesized skeletal age, years from PHV and years from menarche to be better predictors of smoking than calendar age.

Research design: This study is part of the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study (AGAHLS) that was started in 1977 with 619 pupils from two secondary schools (mean age 13.0 SD 0.6).

Methods and procedures: Smoking behaviour was assessed four times between 1977 and 1980 and once in 1996/1997. Calendar age and skeletal age were measured annually whereas height and menarche were measured every 4 months. Maturation rate (skeletal age minus calendar age), age at PHV and age at menarche were used to estimate timing of biological maturation. Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) analysis was used to study maturation rate in relation to smoking during adolescence, whereas logistic regression analyses were used to study mean maturation rate, years from PHV and years from menarche in relation to smoking in adulthood.

Outcome and results: Skeletal age, years from PHV and years from menarche are no better predictors of smoking during adolescence than calendar age. The prevalence of smoking rises gradually with the increase in all four estimates of biological maturation. Timing of biological maturation was positively related to smoking but only at calendar age 13 (OR 3.34, CI 1.58, 7.07). None of the three measures to estimate timing of biological maturation was significantly related to smoking status in adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Female
  • Growth
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Menarche
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*