Secular trends in parental age in Croatia from 1985-2009

Anthropol Anz. 2013;70(3):347-55. doi: 10.1127/0003-5548/2013/0329.


Background: In developed countries general living conditions and living standard have grown, leading to reproductive and other secular changes. During the past decade in Croatia living conditions and living standard have improved.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine changes in reproductive secular trend in our country similar to trends in developed countries considering different and improved living conditions in Croatia.

Methods: 2414 parents and their newborns during 25 years were examined. The study was conducted in University Hospital Center "Sisters of mercy", Zagreb, Croatia. The study was randomized and included only healthy singleton pregnancies. The information was taken from medical data. Anthropological parameters of pregnant women regarding the place of residence, educational level, marital status and parity were examined. The results were statistically analyzed using nonparametric tests, parametric tests, and if necessary additional post hoc tests.

Results: The age of mothers during the study period significantly increased especially in primiparas and secundiparas. The percentage of highly educated mothers and fathers increased. The age of the fathers also increased. Women living in the cities deliver later. Older women deliver heavier and longer children. The share of under-aged mothers during the 25 year period did not change significantly. In the group of older fathers somewhat more common are boys. The proportion of babies with a specified mass is significantly different regarding the maternal age. The proportion of babies of certain length is significantly different with respect to the maternal age only when all periods are considered.

Conclusion: Our data show a secular trend in reproductive health similar to developed countries.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Croatia
  • Developed Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents*
  • Parity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic Factors