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The trend in mean height of Guatemalan women born between 1945 and 1995: a century behind

The trend in mean height of Guatemalan women born between 1945 and 1995: a century behind
The trend in mean height of Guatemalan women born between 1945 and 1995: a century behind
Background: adult height is a cumulative indicator of living standards with mean height increasing with a greater socio-economic level. Guatemalan adult women have the lowest mean height worldwide. The country’s population is ethnically divided between indigenous and non-indigenous groups. This study aims to identify trends in the mean height for indigenous and non-indigenous adult women born between 1945 and 1995 in Guatemala and the association with individual, household and environmental factors.

Methods: we used pooled data of adult women from five Demographic and Health Surveys. Mixed-effects multilevel linear regression models estimate the mean height associated with the explanatory variables. Mean height was modelled as a function of birth year cohort, wealth, education, geo-administrative regions and elevation.

Results: the mean height increased 0.021 cm per year on average. The annual increase for indigenous women was 0.027 cm, while 0.017 cm for non-indigenous women. Height is associated with household wealth and women’s education level. We found an interaction effect between ethnicity and household wealth, with indigenous women at the lowest quintile 0.867 cm shorter than the corresponding non-indigenous group. Height is associated with the geo-administrative region, those women in western regions being shorter than those in the metropolis. Mean height is reduced 0.980 cm for each 1000 m increase in elevation.

Conclusions: Guatemalan women have grown only 1 cm over half century, a slow improvement between 1945 and 1995, a period characterised by political instability and civil war. There are persistent inequalities in women’s height associated with socio-economic status, education and attributes of the geographical context. These aspects need to be considered when implementing strategies to encourage growth. Further research is required to understand the evolution of adult height and the standard of living in post-war Guatemala.
Keywords: Height trend, Inequality, Socio-economic development
Height trend, Inequality, Socio-economic development
1606-0997
Arriaza Solares, Astrid Maria
2b2ceae2-8244-4c73-bd3f-3076858547cf
Hambridge, Michael
e3cb94cf-bac9-4c93-8bc7-8443e8b4b186
Krebs, Nancy
f4d14547-26f9-4292-a4b7-604a01fb7793
Garces, Ana
fe1bf302-1b8c-4218-998d-b7a3d87b8eca
Channon, Andrew Amos
5a60607c-6861-4960-a81d-504169d5880c
Arriaza Solares, Astrid Maria
2b2ceae2-8244-4c73-bd3f-3076858547cf
Hambridge, Michael
e3cb94cf-bac9-4c93-8bc7-8443e8b4b186
Krebs, Nancy
f4d14547-26f9-4292-a4b7-604a01fb7793
Garces, Ana
fe1bf302-1b8c-4218-998d-b7a3d87b8eca
Channon, Andrew Amos
5a60607c-6861-4960-a81d-504169d5880c

Arriaza Solares, Astrid Maria, Hambridge, Michael, Krebs, Nancy, Garces, Ana and Channon, Andrew Amos (2022) The trend in mean height of Guatemalan women born between 1945 and 1995: a century behind. Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition, 41, [43]. (doi:10.1186/s41043-022-00324-8).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: adult height is a cumulative indicator of living standards with mean height increasing with a greater socio-economic level. Guatemalan adult women have the lowest mean height worldwide. The country’s population is ethnically divided between indigenous and non-indigenous groups. This study aims to identify trends in the mean height for indigenous and non-indigenous adult women born between 1945 and 1995 in Guatemala and the association with individual, household and environmental factors.

Methods: we used pooled data of adult women from five Demographic and Health Surveys. Mixed-effects multilevel linear regression models estimate the mean height associated with the explanatory variables. Mean height was modelled as a function of birth year cohort, wealth, education, geo-administrative regions and elevation.

Results: the mean height increased 0.021 cm per year on average. The annual increase for indigenous women was 0.027 cm, while 0.017 cm for non-indigenous women. Height is associated with household wealth and women’s education level. We found an interaction effect between ethnicity and household wealth, with indigenous women at the lowest quintile 0.867 cm shorter than the corresponding non-indigenous group. Height is associated with the geo-administrative region, those women in western regions being shorter than those in the metropolis. Mean height is reduced 0.980 cm for each 1000 m increase in elevation.

Conclusions: Guatemalan women have grown only 1 cm over half century, a slow improvement between 1945 and 1995, a period characterised by political instability and civil war. There are persistent inequalities in women’s height associated with socio-economic status, education and attributes of the geographical context. These aspects need to be considered when implementing strategies to encourage growth. Further research is required to understand the evolution of adult height and the standard of living in post-war Guatemala.
Keywords: Height trend, Inequality, Socio-economic development

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 September 2022
Published date: 15 September 2022
Additional Information: © 2022. The Author(s).
Keywords: Height trend, Inequality, Socio-economic development

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 470483
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/470483
ISSN: 1606-0997
PURE UUID: 1664a412-3692-44d5-bff9-cabd049b5fb9
ORCID for Andrew Amos Channon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4855-0418

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Date deposited: 11 Oct 2022 16:50
Last modified: 15 Oct 2022 01:39

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Contributors

Author: Michael Hambridge
Author: Nancy Krebs
Author: Ana Garces

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