Height, weight, body mass index and pubertal development reference values for children of Turkish origin in the Netherlands

Eur J Pediatr. 2003 Nov;162(11):788-93. doi: 10.1007/s00431-003-1292-x. Epub 2003 Aug 26.


The aim of this study was to provide growth and sexual maturation reference data for Turkish children living in The Netherlands. We also compared these references with the reference data of children of Dutch origin and with Turkish reference data collected in Turkey and elsewhere in Europe. Cross-sectional growth and demographic data were collected from 2,904 children of Turkish origin and 14,500 children of Dutch origin living in the Netherlands in the age range 0-20 years. Growth references for length, height, weight for height, body mass index (BMI) and head circumference were constructed with the LMS method. Reference curves for sexual maturation and menarche were estimated by a generalised additive model. Predictive variables for height and BMI were assessed by univariate and multivariate regression analyses. Young Turkish adults were 10 cm shorter than their Dutch contemporaries. Mean height was 174.0 cm for males and 160.7 cm for females. Height differences in comparison with Dutch children started at 3 years. Height SDS was predominantly associated with target height. The height of Turkish children living in the Netherlands was similar to Turkish children in Germany and to children from high socio-economic classes in Istanbul. Compared to Dutch children, maturation stages started 0.5-0.7 years later for both sexes. In girls, median age at menarche was 12.8 years, 5 months earlier than in Dutch girls. BMI of Turkish children was higher than that of Dutch children at all ages. BMI SDS was associated with birth weight and the duration of stay of the mother in the Netherlands.

Conclusion: Turkish children are considerably shorter and more overweight than Dutch children. Separate growth charts for Turkish children in The Netherlands are useful for growth monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Body Constitution / ethnology
  • Body Height / ethnology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / ethnology*
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Puberty / ethnology*
  • Puberty / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology
  • Turkey / ethnology