Height, weight and menarche in Swedish urban school children in relation to socio-economic and regional factors

Ann Hum Biol. 1976 Nov;3(6):501-28. doi: 10.1080/03014467600001781.


During the period 1964-1973, a defined sample of 740 Swedish urban school children (360 girls and 380 boys) from 40 different urban areas all over the country were followed longitudinally. Height and weight were measured twice a year and age at menarche was recorded. Mean ages at peak height velocity (PHV) and peak weight velocity (PWV) were 11-91 years (SD 0-95) and 12-50 years (SD 1-08) for girls with average values of 8-30 cm/year (SD 1-32) and 7-37 kg/year (SD 1-94). Mean age at menarche was 13-05 years (SD 1-03). PHV and PWV in boys occurred on average at 14-09 years (SD 1-11) and 14-30 years (SD 1-11) with magnitudes of 9-84 cm/year (SD 1-40) and 9-07 kg/year (SD 2-04). No significant differences between socio-economic strata defined by father's occupation and family income were found either for height and weight or for ages at PHV, PWV and menarche. Girls but not boys in the lowest social group (III) had more weight for height during puberty than had girls in social groups I and II. Between the three main geographical regions of Sweden some differences were found. Boys in the South were at the ages of 17 and 18 on average heavier than boys from the rest of the country. Boys and girls in the South had PHV, PWV and menarche half a year later than children in Middle Sweden. In analysis of variance for age at PHV significant interaction terms were found for regions times urbanization. In the South and North age at PHV was earlier the higher the urbanization level, but in Middle Sweden the reverse occurred.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Height*
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menarche*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden
  • Urban Population*