A retrospective growth study of female gymnasts and girl swimmers

Int J Sports Med. 1984 Oct;5(5):262-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1025917.


The aim of this investigation was to retrospectively evaluate growth patterns of different groups of gymnasts as compared to schoolgirls and girl swimmers from 1 until 11 years of age. The gymnastic groups (recreative, young talented, and older talented gymnasts) were smaller than the groups of girl swimmers and schoolgirls already from a young age on. The differences in body height between the groups of sports participants and schoolgirls in the prepubertal period appeared to be mainly based on the genetic growth regulation and seemed to be largely dependent in the gymnastic groups on inheritance of the mothers' height. Significant differences existed in weight as percentage of normal weight for height between the gymnasts and the swimmers. No relations existed between the standard deviation scores, weight percentage, and socioeconomic status. Contrary to general belief, there was no evidence that physical activity from a young age on directly influences growth until puberty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Growth*
  • Gymnastics*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Parents
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Swimming*