Mixed longitudinal study of the growth velocity of Greek schoolchildren

Doctoral Dissertation uoadl:2896162 18 Read counter

Τομέας Υγείας - Μητέρας - Παιδιού
Library of the School of Health Sciences
Deposit date:
Kleanthous Kleanthis
Dissertation committee:
Πολυξένη Νικολαϊδου-Καρπαθίου, Ομότιμος Καθηγήτρια, Ιατρικής, ΕΚΠΑ
Ανδρέας Φρετζάγιας, Ομότιμος Καθηγητής, Ιατρικής, ΕΚΠΑ
Παπαευαγγέλου Βασιλική, Καθηγήτρια, ΕΚΠΑ
Χριστίνα Κανακά-Gantenbein, Καθηγήτρια, ΕΚΠΑ
Αναστάσιος Παπαδημητρίου, Καθηγητής, ΕΚΠΑ
Αργύριος Ντινόπουλος, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής, ΕΚΠΑ
Αχιλλέας Αττιλάκος, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής, ΕΚΠΑ
Original Title:
Μικτή μακροχρόνια μελέτη του ρυθμού αύξησης των Ελληνοπαίδων σχολικής ηλικίας
Translated title:
Mixed longitudinal study of the growth velocity of Greek schoolchildren
Background: Growth is a mirror of children’s health status. Children with
chronic disease may have as an only symptom, for a long time, retarded growth
velocity. The main objective of our study was to examine the growth of Greek
schoolchildren, especially growth velocity. The usually used reference ranges for
growth velocity is from international studies done many years ago and probably
they do not reflect growth velocity contemporary Greek schoolchildren, especially
during puberty. Furthermore we calculated the age of take-off, peak velocity and
total pubertal growth. Another objective of our study was to examine the weight
status of Greek schoolchildren in West Attika and alteration during the 3 years of
the study. In addition another aim of our study was to determine whether a secular
trend for taller final height in Greek girls had continued and to record the age that
final height occurred.
Material and methods: 1514 Greek schoolchildren, 6-18 years old, participated
in our study which took place from November 2009 until May 2012. A total of
almost 7500 measurements were obtained. It was a mixed longitudinal study and
children who were in the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th grades at the ages of 6–7, 9–10,
12–13 and 15–16 years, respectively, were followed every six months for twoand-
a-half years until they finished the 3rd grade, 6th grade, 9th grade and 12th
grade, respectively.
Results: The mean peak height velocity (PHV) was 7.82 cm/year in boys seen at
12.61 years and 6.76 cm/year in girls at 10.93 years. Age at take-off (ATO) was
5.18 cm/year and seen at 9.86 years and 6.45 cm/year at 9.06 years in boys and
girls respectively. Total amount of gaining height until final height in boys was
35.8 cm and in girls 27.3 cm.
The mean peak weight velocity was 7.2 kg/year seen at 12.5 years in boys and 4.9
kg/year seen at 11.5 years in girls.
During the 2.5-year study period, there was a decrease in the total prevalence of
overweight and obesity, which reached a statistical significance for both sexes. It
decreased from 43% to 37.3% (p = 0.02) in boys and from 33.4% to 26.9% (p =
0.0056) in girls. There was also a statistically significant increase in normal
weight children and a slight but insignificant increase in underweight children of
both sexes.
The final height of the girls was 163.3 cm and between the ages of 16.34 and
16.67 years, the mean height gain was only 0.7 mm. No further increases in height
were recorded at later ages, so we presumed that the final height was achieved at
about 16.50 years of age. Comparing these data with other cross-sectional studies
performed in Athens in 1995 and 2000, the final height was 163.3 cm and 163.1
cm respectively.
Conclusions: Height and weight velocity curves are sensitive indicators of growth
and offer useful information of contemporary Greek schoolchildren. The
prevalence of overweight and obesity is alarmingly high, but decreased during the
early years of the Greek economic crisis where our study took place. Finally our
findings showed a levelling off of the secular trend in final height in Greek girls
and that the final height was achieved at the age of 16.5 years.
Main subject category:
Health Sciences
height velocity, weight velocity, obesity, secular trend, final height
Number of index pages:
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