April 1978

Worldwide Variation in Human Growth

Author Affiliations

Department of Physical Growth and Genetics The Fels Research Institute 800 Livermore St Yellow Springs, OH 45387


by Phyllis B. Eveleth and J. M. Tanner, 199 illus, $49.50, Cambridge University Press, 1976.

Am J Dis Child. 1978;132(4):437-438. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1978.02120290109033

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This is a very large compilation of growth data with an extremely wide coverage of population groups, many of which will be completely unknown to all but the professional ethnographer. There is, however, a disappointingly narrow coverage of variables (length, weight, body widths, circumferences and proportions, skinfold thicknesses, and maturity).

Many of the findings are relevant to an important question: should one set of growth reference data be used throughout the world, thus allowing ready comparability between groups, or should there be separate sets for each major racial group or even a multitude of local sets? The studies summarized in this volume indicate many population groups have similar potentials for growth in major body dimensions. For example, the narrower range of means among European than among African groups that range from "tribal" to well-off indicates the range of variation in growth would be reduced greatly if the environmental circumstances allowed

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