2008 Volume 116 Issue 3 Pages 191-199
The secular change in body size across generations provides information about public health changes and living conditions over time. In this study, secular height and weight changes in the adult Turkish population for the years between 1884 and 2006 were analyzed. The study was based on a contemporary cross-sectional survey conducted in Ankara, Turkey, on 1215 (703 males and 512 females) healthy adults. Historical data sets were obtained from previous surveys. Between 1884 and 2006, the mean height of Turkish males increased by 11.94 cm (0.98 cm/decade). The height increase was 6.59 cm (0.96 cm/decade) for females between 1937 and 2006: the mean weight increase was 15.78 kg for males and 14.12 kg for females during this same 69-year period. Although the mean height of Turkish males was within the range of the variations in European countries during the 1880s, Turkish males and females today are shorter and lighter than people in the United States and several European countries. In the first half of the 20th century, periods of sudden decreases, and subsequent recoveries, were identified. However, in the last three decades the positive secular change has accelerated rapidly due to modest improvements in the socio-economic prosperity of Turkey, and it can be concluded that further positive changes may be expected in the near future.