Secular changes in anthropometric measurements of schoolchildren in Ankara, Turkey (1950–2017)
This study aimed to examine the physical growth of Turkish children and determine secular changes in their height and other anthropometric measurements since 1950. For this purpose, three cross-sectional surveys of a total of 4,902 healthy schoolchildren from Ankara (2,490 boys and 2,412 girls) between the ages of 6 and 17 years conducted in 1950, 2005 and 2017 were studied. Body height and sitting height were measured, centile curves were constructed using the LMS method, and sitting height/height ratio was calculated. The results of this study demonstrated positive secular changes in height and sitting height. The increasing rate of height for boys was approximately 2.5 cm/decade for their respective pubertal ages, whereas for girls, the rate was approximately 1.9 cm/decade at ages 9, 10 and 12; however, at the age of 11, the increment in girls was over 2 cm/decade. Data sets presented sexual differences at most ages, arising due to a difference in response to environmental and socio-economic conditions. However, due to the socio-economic fluctuations in Turkey, secular increase was not comparable to the increase experienced within developed countries; therefore a continuation of this secular increase can be expected in the near future.