Anthropometric traits observed during military medical examinations are excellent indicators of individual health and nutritional status, and more generally reflect historical socio-economic conditions. Historical demographers have shown little interest in the association of anthropometric traits with demographic family characteristics, except with sibship size according to the resource dilution hypothesis (RDH). In this study we present an analysis of both height and chest circumference of conscripts of Villagrande in Sardinia, Italy, born between 1853 and 1935. Among a total of 1499 conscripts who passed their first examination, height and chest circumference were recorded respectively for 1432 and 1253 conscripts. These traits were almost normally distributed around the average height of 157.60 cm and chest circumference of 81.89 cm. A multivariate regression analysis was performed using height or chest circumference as dependent variables and a set of demographic variables as potentially explanatory factors. The strongest explanatory power was observed for the year of birth indicating a significant secular increase, for conscript's age at the first medical examination and the maternal age at conscript's birth. The mortality rate under age five within the sibship shows a negative association with height only, whereas neither parity nor intergenesic intervals show any statistically significant impact. Finally, the relative birth index is associated with the chest circumference only, with larger values for conscripts born within the younger half of the sibship. Overall, our findings are consistent with the general statement that height and chest circumference are largely under genetic control although they may be partially modulated by the environmental and socio-economic conditions of the individual's life. This study also aimed to test RDH. Although conscripts who were an only child may have had a slight increase in height and chest circumference, no significant negative linear or log-linear trend was detected for the two body parameters in respect of sibship size.

Anthropometric traits at military medical examinations associated with demographic family characteristics in Sardinia at the turn of twentieth century / Poulain, Michel; Chambre, Dany; Herm, Anne; Pes, Giovanni Mario. - In: THE HISTORY OF THE FAMILY. - ISSN 1081-602X. - 22:2-3(2017), pp. 310-332. [10.1080/1081602X.2016.1193819]

Anthropometric traits at military medical examinations associated with demographic family characteristics in Sardinia at the turn of twentieth century

Giovanni Mario Pes
2017

Abstract

Anthropometric traits observed during military medical examinations are excellent indicators of individual health and nutritional status, and more generally reflect historical socio-economic conditions. Historical demographers have shown little interest in the association of anthropometric traits with demographic family characteristics, except with sibship size according to the resource dilution hypothesis (RDH). In this study we present an analysis of both height and chest circumference of conscripts of Villagrande in Sardinia, Italy, born between 1853 and 1935. Among a total of 1499 conscripts who passed their first examination, height and chest circumference were recorded respectively for 1432 and 1253 conscripts. These traits were almost normally distributed around the average height of 157.60 cm and chest circumference of 81.89 cm. A multivariate regression analysis was performed using height or chest circumference as dependent variables and a set of demographic variables as potentially explanatory factors. The strongest explanatory power was observed for the year of birth indicating a significant secular increase, for conscript's age at the first medical examination and the maternal age at conscript's birth. The mortality rate under age five within the sibship shows a negative association with height only, whereas neither parity nor intergenesic intervals show any statistically significant impact. Finally, the relative birth index is associated with the chest circumference only, with larger values for conscripts born within the younger half of the sibship. Overall, our findings are consistent with the general statement that height and chest circumference are largely under genetic control although they may be partially modulated by the environmental and socio-economic conditions of the individual's life. This study also aimed to test RDH. Although conscripts who were an only child may have had a slight increase in height and chest circumference, no significant negative linear or log-linear trend was detected for the two body parameters in respect of sibship size.
Anthropometric traits at military medical examinations associated with demographic family characteristics in Sardinia at the turn of twentieth century / Poulain, Michel; Chambre, Dany; Herm, Anne; Pes, Giovanni Mario. - In: THE HISTORY OF THE FAMILY. - ISSN 1081-602X. - 22:2-3(2017), pp. 310-332. [10.1080/1081602X.2016.1193819]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11388/199462
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