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Compilation and comparison of averages for standing height at late childhood ages on United States boys of several ethnic groups studied between 1875 and 1980.

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 61:lll-124 (19831
Compilation and Comparison of Averages for Standing Height at
Late Childhood Ages on United States Boys of Several Ethnic
Groups Studied Between 1875 and 1980
HOWARD V. MEREDITH
Department of Physical Education, College of Health, University of South
Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208
KEY WORDS Body size, Standing height, United States boys,
Ethnic differences, Secular trend, Socioeconomicstatus
ABSTRACT
Averages for standing height are brought together a t late
childhood ages on boys of different ethnic groups studied in the United States
during the last 100 years. More than 80 averages are assembed at each of two
ages (9 years and 11 years). Among the groups represented are boys having
the following ancestries: Afro-Black, Amerind, Chinese, Japanese, Eskimo,
Mexican, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Finnish, German, Italian, British, and
Dutch. S f l i c e to cite examples of findings on boys age 11 years. United States
Black boys studied during the period 1967-1978 were taller than those studied
during 1886-1898 by 11.4 cm, or 8.6%.Average standing heights in the 1930s
were near 134 cm for Pueblo boys; near 139 cm for boys whose progenitors
were Navajo, Mexican, or Polish; and near 142 cm for boys of Finnish ancestry.
In the 1950s, average standing heights were near 140 cm, 144 cm, and 146 cm,
respectively, on United States boys of Japanese, Italian, and Dutch ancestries.
Afro-Black and Amerind similarities and dissimilarities in the 1960s are
illustrated by averages near 140 cm on Black and Chippewa groups in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, and near 144 cm on Black and Blackfeet groups in
Ohio and Montana. In some instances, averages are compared for upper and
lower socioeconomic subgroups, and for urban and rural subgroups.
This report pertains to standing height averages a t late childhood ages on more than a
dozen ethnic groups of boys residing in the
United States within the period between
1875 and 1980. The primary purpose was to
bring together, order, and discuss present
knowledge on average standing height a t
ages between 9 and 11 years for groups of
United States boys having different racial,
national, or tribal ancestries. Specific aims,
each referring to United States boys at late
childhood ages, were as follows:
1. To determine for which-ethnic groups
there is information on secular change in
standing height.
2. To examine, within ethnic groups, differences in standing height associated with
socioeconomic status, urban-rural residence,
or other variables.
3. To identify differences and similarities
among ethnic groups comparable in respect
0 1983 ALAN R. LISS, INC.
to variables such as time, place, and socioeconomic level.
4. To complement findings on United
States Black and White boys for the body
stem and lower limb components of standing
height (Meredith and Spurgeon, 1976) with
findings for these components on United
States Black and Japanese boys.
5. To provide physical anthropologists and
other human biologists with a n overview of
research a t late childhood ages on the standing height of different ethnic groups of
United States males. It is anticipated the
overview will serve as a n aid in teaching,
and a n indication of needed further research
on several ethnic groups.
METHODS
Four notations on method are pertinent:
Received September 7,1982; accepted January 5,1983
112
H.V. MEREDITH
1. Most of the investigations drawn upon dard deviations exceeding 6.1 cm and 6.6 cm
reported arithmetic means. In a few studies, at ages 9 years and 11years respectively.
only medians were reported (Barr et al., 1972;
Systems Development Project Staff, 1968).
FINDINGS
The two averages can be assumed equivalent, as there is no systematic difference at
Averages for standing height at two late
late childhood ages between mean and me- childhood ages are assembled in Table 1 on
dian standing height (Scott, 1961).
United States boys of predominantly Afro2. Averages are presented to typify stand- Black ancestry. Column 7 of the Table lists,
ing height at ages 9 years and 11years. From in order of increasing magnitude, averages
those investigations providing annual aver- at age 11 years for 23 samples of boys meaages typifying ages 8.5 years, 9.5 years, and sured between 1885 and 1978. Columns l
so forth, values for ages 9 years and 11years through 3 identify the investigations drawn
were derived by interpolation.
upon, along with the place and time each
3. Averages were subgrouped and ordered sample was studied. Columns 4 through 6
in six tables, one table each on boys with the list, for the successive rows, number of boys
following progenitors: Predominantly Afro- measured at age 9 years, average standing
Black, Amerind and Eskimo, Chinese and height a t age 9 years, and number of boys
Japanese, Mexican and Puerto Rican, East measured at age 11years.
Findings accessible from Table 1 include
and south European, and Northwest Eurothe following:
pean.
4. The tables were constructed without at1. Public school samples a t age 9 years
taching standard error value to each aver- gave averages for standing height near 125
age. Taking population standard deviations cm on 303 boys measured during 1896-1898
as 6.1 cm at age 9 years and 6.6 cm a t age 11 in the District of Columbia, 130 cm on 145
years (Krogman, 1970; O’Brien et al., 1941), boys measured during 1929-1931 a t San Anstandard errors are: (a) At age 9 years, 1.11 tonio, Texas, and 133 cm on 208 boys meacm, 0.79 cm, 0.61 cm, 0.35 cm, and 0.19 cm sured during 1974-1977 in Richland County,
where the boys measured numbered 30, 60, South Carolina. The average for 1974-1977
100, 300, and 1,000 respectively, and (b) a t exceeded that for 1896-1898 by 8.0 cm, or
age 11 years, for the same numbers of boys, 6.4%.
1.20 cm, 0.85 cm, 0.66 cm, 0.38 cm, and 0.21
2. Averages a t age 11 years varied from
cm, respectively. These figures supply a base below 132 cm on 43 boys measured during
for drawing inferences of the kind illustrated 1886-1890 a t Kansas City, Missouri, to above
by: Given two samples each consisting of 100 145 cm on 75 boys measured in 1977 at Philboys age 9 years, and estimating a t p = 0.01, adelphia, Pennsylvania. Among the 23 studwhen averages for standing height differ by ies a t this age, two were made during 18862.3 cm or more, there is high probability the 1898, six during 1921-1938, and seven dursamples were drawn from different standing ing 1967-1978. Composite weighted averheight populations.
ages for these periods were 132.2 cm, 138.8
What additional support is there for using cm, and 143.6 cm respectively. The 1967population standard deviation estimates ob- 1978 average surpassed the 1886-1898 avertained on samples of United States Black age by 11.4 cm, or 8.6%.
and White boys in assessing differences
3. At both ages, differences in average
among the wider assortment of ethnic groups standing height statistically significant at
assembled in this report? An earlier analysis p = 0.01 were found between United States
of variability in standing height was made Black populations sampled a t (a) Washingon boys age 5 years studied in different parts ton, D.C. during 1896-1898 and Atlanta,
of the world (Meredith, 1978:43-48). From Georgia, during 1925-1926, (b) Atlanta dursamples each larger than 750, standard de- ing 1925-1926 and Los Angeles during 1936viations were between 4.5 cm and 5.5 cm on 1938, and (c) Los Angeles during 1936-1938
Belgian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, Ger- and San Francisco during 1967-1970. Averman, Italian, Japanese, and United States ages were similar in the 1920s a t urban cenWhite boys. Among these eight groups, the ters in Georgia and Virginia, and in the
largest standard deviation was on United 1960s a t Washington, D.C. and Cleveland,
States White boys. Adjusting for increase in Ohio.
variability with age, it appears reasonable to
4. Averages obtained for Black boys of low
infer that probably none of the populations socioeconomic status measured in several
represented in the present report had stan- states during the late 1960s were near 4.0
Place
Several states a
Washington, D.C.a
Several states
Bostonb
Cleveland, Ohiob
Cincinnati, Ohio
Richland County,
South Carolina
Galveston County, Texasb
Dallas County, Texasb
San Franciscoe
Philadelphia
Several states
Kansas City, Missouri
New York orphanage
Washington, D.C.
Detroit, Michigan
New York Citya
Atlanta, Georgia
Virginia cities
Rutherford County, Tennessee
San Antonio Texas
Philadelphiab
Los Angeles
Philadelphia‘
Eight statesa
aLow socioeconomic status.
h L o to
~ middle socioeconomic status.
‘This study included the 1965-1966 data analyzed by Malina (1972).
dUnited States Center for Disease Control (1972).
‘All socioeconomic classes except the indigent and affluent.
Dodge and West, 1970
Schutte, 1980
Barr et al., 1972
Eveleth et al., 1979
Abraham et al., 1975
Greenwood, 1891
Hrdlicka, 1899
MacDonald, 1899
Packer and Moehlman, 1921
Herskovits, 1930
Sterling, 1928
Royster and Hulvey, 1929
Mustard and Waring, 1926
Whitacre, 1939
Malina, 1972
Lloyd-Jones, 1941
Krogman, 1970
See footnoted
Systems Development
Project Staff, 1968
Verghese et al., 1969
Hamill et al., 1970
Piscopo, 1962
Neville, 1977
Rauh et al., 1967
Spurgeon et al., 1978
Investigation
1967-1969
ca. 1978
1967-1970
1977
1971-1972
1968
1963-1965
1963-1965
1958-1959
1967-1968
1963
1974-1977
1886-1890
1896-1898
1896-1898
1921
1923-1926
1925-1926
ca. 1927
ca. 1925
1929-1931
1965-1966
1936-1938
1956-1966
1968-1970
Date
-
132.5
25
135.6
75
-
-
-
135.4
92
124
208
-
-
133.8
133.4
133.2
-
593
132.1
133.0
133.1
125.1
125.2
127.0
128.3
128.5
129.0
129.8
129.9
132.6
133.0
132.3
132.3
116
56
76
25
303
ca. 140
172
303
589
86
145
41
207
133
165
-
Age 9 years
Number
Mean
82
24
67
73
23
88
54
74
38
87
95
207
271
ca. 140
188
330
431
67
135
40
238
117
145
-
43
-
143.6
144.3
145.4
145.6
145.9
142.2
142.6
142.7
143.1
143.2
143.5
143.8
132.3
134.6
138.1
138.3
138.7
139.7
140.4
140.5
141.7
141.8
142.0
131.4
Age 11years
Number
Mean
TABLE 1. Average standing height (cm) at two late childhood ages on United States boys ofpredominantly Afro-Black ancestry
0
3
W
v)
114
H.V. MEREDITH
cm higher than averages for Black age-peers
of similar socioeconomic status measured in
the early 1920s a t New York City. Groups of
Black boys comparable socioeconomically,
secularly, and in age, yielded similar averages a t two urban centers in Ohio.
Table 2, constructed in the same way as
Table 1, displays averages for standing
height a t late childhood ages on United
States boys of Amerind and Eskimo ancestry.
This table shows:
1. At age 9 years, averages from data collected between 1955 and 1965 were near 126
cm for 22 Eskimo boys at Alaskan villages,
130 cm for 44 Chippewa boys in the Minnesota Red Lake Reservation, and 133 cm for
Blackfeet boys on the Montana Blackfeet Reservation. Corresponding averages at age 11
years were near 136, 140, and 144 cm respectively.
2. At age 11 years, studies in the early
1930s on Amerind samples larger than 150
indicated Navajo boys were taller than Pueblo
boys by about 5.0 cm. The average at this age
obtained on 14 Alaskan Eskimo boys at Bethel was similar to that for contemporary
Pueblo boys in Arizona and New Mexico.
Joint examination of Tables 1 and 2 reveals:
1. At age 9 years, United States Black boys
measured in Texas during 1929-1931 (Table
1) were, on average, taller by 6.0 cm than
contemporary Pueblo peers measured in
southwestern states during 1931-1934 (Table
2).
2. At age 11 years, United States Black
boys measured during 1967-1970 at San
Francisco (Table 1)were, on average, 5.0 cm
taller than comtemporary Chippewa peers
measured during 1965 on the Red Lake Reservation, Minnesota (Table 2).
3. At both ages, averages from data gathered in the 1960s were similar on United
States Black boys a t Cincinnati, Ohio (Table
1)and Amerind boys a t the Blackfeet Reservation, Montzna (Table 2).
Assembled in Table 3 are averages for
standing height a t late childhood ages on
United States boys of Chinese and Japanese
descent studied in the half century subsequent to 1920. Findings accessible from this
table include the following:
1. At age 9 years, boys of Japanese lineage
living in the San Francisco Bay region during 1956-1957 were, on average, taller by 9.0
cm than ethnic peers measured 30 years ear-
lier at Honolulu. Given samples of 100 and
33, a difference of 3.2 cm over this period
would allow a t p = 0.01 the inference of dependably different standing height populations.
2. At age 11years, 60 boys of Chinese lineage measured during 1940-1941 a t several
cities spread from California to New York
were, on average, taller by about 5.5 cm than
43 ethnic peers measured 16 years earlier at
Honolulu. At p = 0.01, given samples of 60
and 43, it would be tenable to infer a population difference from a difference between
sample averages larger than 3.5 cm.
3. Averages for standing height obtained
in the 1920s on United States boys of Chinese
and Japanese ancestries fell below 124 cm at
age 9 years, and below 134 cm a t age 11
years. From data collected between 1956 and
1970 averages were near 129 cm and 140 cm
at ages 9 years and 11years respectively.
Some of the studies represented in Tables
1 and 3 reported averages for sitting height.
Subtraction of these averages from corresponding averages for standing height led to
findings a t late childhood ages on the extent
to which the sitting height and lower limb
height components of standing height were
proportioned differently in Mongoloid and
Negroid groups. The following are examples:
1. Data collected during 1929-1931 by
Suski (1933)and Whitacre (1939)showed boys
of predominantly Black ancestry at San Antonio, compared with peers of Japanese ancestry a t Los Angeles, were shorter in
average sitting height by 1.5 cm and 1.9 cm
a t ages 9 years and 11years respectively, and
longer in average lower limb height a t these
ages by 5.2 cm and 6.4 cm respectively.
2. The same relationship of shorter sitting
height and longer lower limb height was
found from measures accumulated between
1956 and 1966 on boys of Japanese lineage
in the San Francisco Bay area (Greulich,
1957) and boys of largely Afro-Black lineage
at Philadelphia (Krogman, 1970). Compared
with averages on the California Japanese
group age 9 years, averages a t this age on
the Pennsylvania Black group were lower for
sitting height by 2.9 cm and higher for lower
limb height by 6.3 cm.
Averages for standing height at late childhood ages are brought together in Table 4 on
United States boys of Mexican, Cajun, and
Puerto Rican ancestries. Comparative findings are culled first within Table 4, and then
Bethel, Alaskd
Alaskan villages
Alaskan villages
Eskimo ancestry
Hrdlicka, 1941
Heller et al., 1967
Mann et al., 1962
1928-1931
1956-1959
1958
1931-1934
1955
1934
1958
1932-1934
1965
1954
1967-1975
1961
1961
Date
‘Pueblo boys reared under conditions of poor sanitation and diet.
bNavajo boys living a t two reservation locations differing in health provisions.
‘Athabascan Amerind boys; the mean for 2 boys age 10 was 132.1 em.
dNavajo boys; boys with known White ancestors were excluded.
eBoys of the Chippewa tribe living on Red Lake Reservation.
fWestern Apache boys residing on Fort Apache Reservation; on 8 boys age 10 years the mean was 134.5 cm.
P a r e n t s largely of the Chippewa, Sioux, and Winnebago tribes.
hBoys living on Blackfeet Reservation. Dietary intake insufficient for protein and calcium.
‘Members of Assiniboine and Gros Ventres tribes living on Fort Belknap Reservation.
’Eskimo boys living in “the Kuskokwim region,” predominantly “fullbloods.”
Arizona and New Mexicoa
Ganado and Pinon, Arizonab
Arizona and New Mexicoa
Alaskan villages‘
Arizona and New Mexicod
Minnesotae
Arizonaf
Minneapolisg
Montanah
Montana’
Place
Amerind ancestry
Pitney, 1940
Sandstead et al., 1956
Dunham et al., 1937
Mann et al., 1962
Steggerda and Densen, 1936
Johnston et al., 1978
Kraus, 1961
Johnston et al., 1978
Fisk, 1964a
Fisk, 196413
Investigation
7
22
16
219
10
42
5
143
44
13
22
41
17
124.7
126.4
125.5
123.9
127.9
127.0
125.7
131.1
129.9
129.1
134.2
133.1
133.0
Age 9 years
Number
Mean
14
17
10
213
14
8
3
153
40
5
27
49
26
134.1
136.5
137.0
133.7
134.5
136.7
137.2
138.9
140.3
~~.
.
141.6
143.2
143.8
143.9
Age 11years
Number
Mean
TABLE 2. Average standing height (cmi at two late childhood ages on United States boys ofAmerind and Eskimo ancestries
2
3
W
0
W
h
c3
c
z
El
z0
Y5
Honolulu, Hawaiid
San Franciscod
Honolulu, Hawaiid
San Franciscoe
Oakland, California'
Several cities"
San Francisco areah
Chinese ancestry
Appleton, 1927
Preston, 1936
Cox, 1928
Wong and Lee, 1936
Wong and Lee, 1936
Lowe, 1941
Oriental ("yellow") ancestry
Barr et al., 1972
1967-1970
1924-1925
1931
ca. 1926
1935
1935
1940-1941
ca. 1926
1921-1923
1931
ca. 1931
1936-1938
1971
1956-1957
Date
36
38
20
> 100
120
27
54
31
48
76
181
45
33
> 100
129.1
122.6
126.0
123.9
124.8
126.9
125.9
119.9
121.0
123.1
126.2
127.2
127.8
128.9
Age 9 years
Number
Mean
"The fathers were largely Seattle tradesmen.
bParents of all socioeconomic levels from unskilled to major managerial and professional.
'"Representative" samples of boys of Japanese descent born in the San Francisco Bay area.
dUnited States Chinese boys whose progenitors migrated from southern China.
'The fathers were 50% unskilled or semiskilled, 4% major managerial or professional
'Housing of Chinese families was somewhat better a t Oakland than San Francisco.
"Cities in California, Illinois, Michigan and New York. Below average socioeconomically.
hData collected in the Pediatric Multiphasic Program a t Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center; parents in all social classes except the indigent and affluent.
Honolulu, Hawaii
Seattle regiona
San Francisco
Los Angelesb
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
San Francisco area'
Place
Japanese ancestry
Cox, 1928
Spier, 1929
Preston, 1936
Suski, 1933
Lloyd-Jones, 1941
Kondo and Eto, 1975
Greulich, 1957
Investigation
27
43
27
> 100
104
30
60
17
30
52
166
56
36
> 100
139.7
131.4
132.2
133.3
133.6
135.8
137.0
129.1
132.8
132.8
135.9
136.1
139.4
140.2
Age 11years
Number
Mean
TABLE 3. Average standing height (cm) at two late childhood ages on United States boys of Japanese and Chinese ancestries
?3
A
4
-
g
W
E
c
3
Several Puerto
Rican townsd
New York
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Alabamaf
Texas: San Antonio,
Austin, and Tafta
Austin, Texasb
Tucson, Arizona
San Antonio, Texasd
Laredo and El Paso,
Texasd
Texas
Los Angelesd
Galveston County, Texasb
Place
1968-1970
1962
1921-1922
1968
1968-1970
1936-1938
1967-1969
1929-1931
1930
ca. 1975
ca. 1923
1941-1942
Date
15
102
411
10
45
1202
257
128
217
ca. 100
-
27
131.4
133.3
121.3
129.9
128.8
129.0
132.2
126.2‘
127.2
126.2
-
121.6
Age 9 years
Number
Mean
13
94
443
12
41
1198
48
234
255
-
17
30
-
141.8
145.1
130.7
141.3
136.7
138.8
140.7
135.7
136.0
135.0
134.4
Age 11years
Number
Mean
aBoys born in the United States into families of “generally low” socioeconomic status.
bFathers mainly unskilled or semiskilled workmen.
‘Estimated mean, the reported mean was 128.6 cm from 103 measures on 9-year-old boys (mean age 9.5 years). Mixtures about 80% Spanish and 20% Amerind; poor to fair status
dPublic school boys.
‘United States Center for Disease Control (1972). Boys in low income families.
‘Mixtures estimated about 65% English White, 30% Gullah Black, and 5 4 Cherokee Amerind.
“Private school boys of predominantly Spanish ancestry and middle to upper class economic status.
Knott, 1963“
See footnotee
Puerto Rican ancestry
Bary, 1923
Cajun ancestry
Pollitzer e t al., 1977
See footnotee
Lloyd-Jones, 1941
Dodge and West, 1970
Zavaleta and Malina, 1982
Paschal and Sullivan, 1925
Whitacre, 1939
Manuel, 1934
Mexican ancestry
Meredith and Goldstein, 1952
Investigation
TABLE 4. Average standing height (cml at two late childhood ages on United States boys of Mexican, Canjun,and Puerto Rican ancestries
3
W
0
-4
0
118
H.V. MEREDITH
between Table 4 and the three preceding tables:
1. In the early 1920s, standing height averages at age 9 years were near 121 cm on
411 Puerto Rican urban boys, and almost 5.0
cm higher on about 100 boys of Mexican ancestry lving a t Tucson, Arizona. Statistical
testing yielded a t < 5.0, indicating a significant difference in average standing height
for these contemporary populations.
2. Average standing height at age 11years
was near 136 cm in two groups of public
school boys of Mexican ancestry measured
about 1930 in Texas (234 boys studied a t San
Antonio and 255 boys studied at Laredo and
El Paso). These averages were fully 9.0 cm
lower than the average from measures taken
in 1962 on 94 Puerto Rican private school
boys of predominantly Spanish ancestry and
middle to upper socioeconomic status.
3. At both ages, Mexican schoolboys measured at Los Angeles in the late 1930s were
dependably taller than Mexican schoolboys
measured around 1930 a t El Paso, Laredo,
and San Antonio. This finding may arise
from the difference in geographic location,
some difference in ethnic composition, or a
compounding of these and other variables.
4. Averages for standing height near 133
cm at age 9 years were obtained in the early
1960s on 102 Puerto Rican boys predominantly of Spanish descent and above average
socioeconomic status (Table 4), 124 Ohio boys
predominantly of Afro-Black lineage and low
to middle socioeconomic status (Table 11, and
41 Montana Amerind boys residing on the
Blackfeet Reservation (Table 2).
5. At age 11years, school groups measured
in the 1930s yielded standing height averages near 136 cm on 255 boys of Mexican
ancestry in Texas (Table 4) and on 166 boys
of Japanese ancestry in California (Table 3).
Secularly comparable averages were near
139 cm on 1,198 boys of Mexican lineage in
California (Table 4) and 153 boys of the Navajo tribe in Arizona and New Mexico (Table
2).
In Table 5, averages are assembled for
standing height a t late childhood ages on
United States boys of Finnish, Polish, Slavic,
Italian, and Portuguese ancestries. Examples of comparative findings are drawn first
within the table, then from this table in conjunction with antecedent tables:
1. Measures of standing height amassed in
the 1930s on United States boys of Italian
descent in Minnesota, and Polish descent in
Michigan, yielded averages near 130 cm at
age 9 years and 139 cm a t age 11 years.
Corresponding averages on boys of Finnish
descent in Michigan were higher by about
2.0 cm.
2. At age 11 years, average standing
height for boys of Italian ancestry and low to
middle socioeconomic status measured 19581959 in Massachusetts exceeded by about
12.0 cm the average for boys of Italian ancestry living a half-century earlier under congested conditions in New York.
3. From urban data collected at age 9 years
in the 1920s, averages for standing height
were near 120 cm on about 100 boys of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii (Table 31, 124 cm on
80 boys of Italian ancestry in Massachusetts
(Table 5), and 129 cm on 589 boys of AfroBlack ancestry in Virginia (Table 1). Similar
averages near 129 cm were obtained at age 9
years on boys primarily of Afro-Black lineage
in Virginia (Table 1)and at age 11years on
boys of Japanese lineage in Hawaii (Table 3).
4. Averages between 132 cm and 134 cm
a t age 11years were reported on 271 boys of
Afro-Black ancestry measured during 18961898 a t Washington, D.C. (Table 11, more
than 100 boys of Portuguese ancestry measured at Honolulu in the 1920s (Table 5), and
104 boys of Chinese ancestry measured in
1935 a t San Francisco (Table 3).
Averages are displayed in Table 6 for
standing height of United States boys who
had northwest European progenitors (British, Dutch, German, Irish, mixed nationalities) or Jewish progenitors. Comparative
findings accessible from this Table include
the following:
1. At age 9 years, boys of Dutch ancestry
measured in 1941 a t Holland, Michigan, averaged near 9.0 cm taller than boys of German ancestry measured about 60 years
earlier a t Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At age 11
years, boys of northwest European ancestry
measured during 1950-1957 at Iowa City,
Iowa, averaged near 12.0 cm taller than boys
of Irish ancestry measured about 80 years
earlier a t Boston, Massachusetts. An alternative comparison a t age 11 years showed
the average obtained from 1957-1958 data
on boys of Dutch ancestry a t Holland, Michigan, to exceed that from records made during
1875-1876 on boys of Irish ancestry at Boston by about 13.0 cm. Across the 80 years,
secular increase in average standing height
Detroit, Michigan
New York Citye
Hantramck, Michigan
Minnesota'
Slavic ancestry
Packer and Moehlman, 1921
Boas, 1911
Polish ancestry
Courtis, 1939
Finnish ancestry
Matheny and Meredith, 1947
aMembers of families living under crowded conditions.
bThe boys' fathers were 58%unskilled or semiskilled, 6%professional or major managerial
'Communities within a 50-mile radius of Hibbing; 80%of fathers unskilled or semiskilled.
dMassachusetts boys of low to middle socioeconomic status.
eMainly boys of Bohemian, Hungarian, Polish, or Slovak descent living in poor settings.
Honolulu, Hawaii
New York orphanage
New York City"
New York City"
Detroit, Michigan
Beverly and Revere,
Massachusettsb
Minnesota'
Bostond
Place
Portuguese ancestry
Cox, 1928
Matheny and Meredith, 1947
Piscopo, 1962
Italian ancestry
Hrdlicka, 1899
Gebhart, 1923
Boas, 1911
Packer and Moehlman, 1921
Meredith, 1939
Investigation
1938-1939
ca. 1938
1921
1908-1910
ca. 1926
1938-1939
1958-1959
1896-1898
1917-1922
1908-1910
1921
1925-1928
Date
93
956
102
ca. 400
> 100
-
59
ca. 260
ca. 80
115
70
ca. 20
132.0
129.8
124.5
125.1
123.3
-
130.0
119.7
121.7
121.0
121.9
124.1
Age 9 years
Number
Mean
100
905
281
ca. 400
> 100
79
44
90
119
ca. 260
80
ca. 30
141.6
139.4
134.6
135.2
132.6
139.1
144.1
128.7
131.2
131.8
132.1
134.0
Age 11years
Number
Mean
TABLE 5. Average standing height (cm) at two late childhood ages on United States boys of south and east European ancestries
3
W
0
CA
tl
zmZ
C
3
0
2
C
m
0
0
20
4
T
F;
%
E
i;
3
0
2
0
3z
Boston, Massachusetts
Detroit, Michigan
Mississippia
Holland, Michigan
Holland, Michigan
Holland, Michigan
Eastern Tennesseeb
Massachusetts’ towns‘
Massachusetts’ townsd
Urban Mainee
Rural Utah
Utah citiesf
Iowa City, Iowag
New York Cityh
Massachusetts’ towns’
New JerseyJ
Irish ancestry
Bowditch, 1877
British (“Anglo-Saxon”)ancestry
Packer and Moehlman, 1921
Miszkiewicz, 1978
Dutch ancestry
Steggerda and Shaffer, 1942
Steggerda and Shaffer, 1942
Spurgeon e t al., 1959
Northwest European ancestry
Wheeler, 1933
Meredith, 1941
Meredith, 1941
Clayton, 1944
Brown, 1936
Brown, 1936
Meredith, 1982
Jewish ancestry
Boas, 1911
Kobyliansky et al., 1980
Kornfeld, 1954
1908-1910
1923-1929
1940-1953
1932
1925-1926
1925-1926
1934-1939
1934-1935
1934-1935
1950-1957
1931-1934
1941
1957-1958
1921
1975-1976
1875-1876
1875-1876
ca. 1880
Date
of
124.7
129.9
133.3
-
-
103
39
2 10
127.2
128.8
130.8
130.6
130.6
132.3
-
132.4
133.5
127.0
132.4
123.5
121.9
124.3
75
126
56
108
904
647
-
100
99
ca. 400
30
572
85
300
Age 9 years
Number
Mean
138.7
139.4
142 5
144.6
122
815
645
32
133.8
140.0
144.1
-
295
38
45
138.2
141.2
143.2
146.4
134.6
144.7
132.9
132.2
133.8
87
-
100
105
73
ca. 400
20
559
83
298
Age 11years
Number
Mean
northwest European and Jewish ancestries
aBoys in families of middle and upper middle socioeconomic status; attending private schools.
bBoys of low socioeconomic status attending schools in a n isolated mountainous region.
‘Boys measured a t schools in Beverly a n d Revere; 70% of fathers semiskilled, 30%,unskilled.
dMembers of professional a n d major managerial families; attended schools a t Medford a n d nearby towns.
eJonesport, Mars Hill, Monmouth, and Newport.
‘Logan, Provo, and Salt Lake City.
Wathers about 47% professional or major managerial, 18%semiskilled or unskilled, and 35%in intermediate category
hOffspring of east European Jewish parents living in congested districts.
‘Medford, Beverly, and Revere.
’Predominantly Jewish boys examined in private pediatric practice.
Boston, Massachusetts
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Place
German ancestry
Bowditch, 1877
Peckham, 1881
Investigation
TABLE 6. Average standing height (cm)at two late childhood ages on United States boys
3:
3
0
F;
STANDING HEIGHT OF ETHNIC GROUPS OF UNITED STATES BOYS
at age 11years, with allowance for sampling
variations, was estimated at not less than
10.0 cm, or 7.5%.
2. For boys of northwest European ancestry measured in Utah during the 1930s,those
living at urban centers were, on average,
taller than peers in rural areas by about 2.0
cm at age 9 years and 3.0 cm at age 11years.
Standing height averages a t late childhood
ages were similar for contemporary boys of
northwest European ancestry at towns in
Maine and rural districts in Utah.
3. Data collected during 1925-1926 on boys
of northwest European descent residing a t
towns in Massachusetts showed average
standing height a t age 9 years was about 2.0
cm higher on offspring of parents in the
professional and major managerial category
than on peer offspring of parents in the unskilled and semiskilled category. Another
comparison at this age showed the 1975-1976
average of 30 Mississippi private school boys
of British descent and middle to upper-middle socioeconomic status (Miszkiewicz, 1978)
exceeded by 3.0 cm the average for 74 White
“poverty area” boys measured during 1968
at widely scattered locations in the United
States (Systems Development Project Staff,
1968).
At age 10 years, average standing height
was 139.1 cm on 100 boys of northwest European descent measured in 1950 a t Eugene,
Oregon (Meredith, 1951). A similar average
at this age (139.3 cm) was obtained on 30
predominantly Jewish boys measured during
1950-1953 in private pediatric practice
(Kornfeld, 1954).
At age 11 years, averages were 138.2 cm
for 87 Tennessee mountain boys of northwest
European descent measured in 1932 (Table
61, 144.3 cm for 98 boys of mainly northwest
European lineage measured during 19611963 at Iowa City, Iowa (Knott and Meredith,
1963), and 146.4 cm for 73 boys of Dutch
ancestry measured during 1957-1958 at Holland, Michigan (Table 6). Comparison of the
two contemporary groups showed boys of
Dutch ancestry a t Holland were taller than
Iowa City boys of largely northwest European descent by about 2.0 cm, or 1.5%. The
Michigan boys of Dutch ancestry surpassed
the Tennessee mountain boys measured 25
years earlier by 8.2 cm, or 5.9%.
Palmer and Collins (1935) analyzed data
for standing height amassed during 19221924 at towns in the northeastern section of
the United States on White boys whose par-
121
ents and grandparents were born in the
United States. Obtained averages were 130.3
cm for 587 boys age 9 years and 140.0 cm for
553 boys age 11 years. These averages were
about 1.5 cm higher than those obtained by
Meredith (1939)on boys of northwest European ancestry measured during 1925-1928
at Beverly and Revere, Massachusetts (128.6
cm for 155 boys age 9 years and 138.6 cm for
157 boys age 11years).
Drawing upon Tables 1through 6 as a set,
illustrative findings a t age 11 years are as
follows:
1. Averages for standing height based on
measures taken during the 1930s varied from
132.8 cm on boys of Japanese lineage residing a t San Francisco (Table 3) to 142.5 cm on
boys of northwest European lineage living at
cities in Utah (Table 6). From data collected
between 1967 and 1970, averages were 136.7
cm on 41 Mexican boys of low income families in Texas (Table 4) and 145.4 cm on 67
Afro-Black boys of middle income families in
California (Table 1).
2. In the 1930s, standing height averages
were near 139 cm for boys whose progenitors
were Navajo (Table 2), Mexican (Table 4),
Italian (Table 5), and Polish (Table 5). In the
1960s, paired similarities were near 140 cm
for United States Black boys at Philadelphia
(Table 1)and Chippewa peers in Minnesota
(Table 21, and 144 cm for United States Black
boys at Cincinnati (Table 1) and Blackfeet
peers in Montana (Table 2).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
The statistics aggregated in Tables 1
through 6 on different groups of United
States boys have relevancy for those who
teach courses (or course segments) on human
ontogeny, engage in research on child somatology, or respond to requests for advice on
selecting school growth charts. In discharging these teaching, research, and service
functions, updated knowledge is needed on
childhood somatic differences across time and
among present-day United States ethnic
groups. This report supplies teachers with
updated information on average standing
height of different groups of United States
boys, points investigators toward research
that would strengthen knowledge of socioeconomic, geographic, and secular variables associated with standing height at late
childhood ages, and alerts those who recommend growth charts to check on currency of
construction and suitability for use in inter-
122
H.V. MEREDITH
preting the standing height status of boys
belonging to particular ethnic groups.
Growth charts based on data collected between 1960 and 1980 are available for United
States children and youths of predominantly
northwest European ancestry (American
Medical Association, 1975) and predominantly Afro-Black ancestry (Spurgeon and
Meredith, 1977). Measures being accumulated in the California Pediatric Multiphasic
Program at Kaiser-Permanente Medical
Center (Barr et al., 1972) could be used to
construct charts appropriate in United States
schools having pupils of Chinese or Japanese
descent. In the near future, records should be
collected suitable for constructing charts applicable in United States schools with pupils
having Eskimo, Mexican, or Pueblo progenitors.
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