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Title: Secular trends in age at menarche among Caboclo populations from Pará, Amazonia, Brazil: 1930-1980
Authors: Silva, H. P. 
Padez, C. 
Issue Date: 2006
Citation: American Journal of Human Biology. 18:1 (2006) 83-92
Abstract: The present study is part of a large research project on growth, development, nutrition, and health of Caboclo populations from the Brazilian Amazon. The aim of this paper is to analyze the age of menarche in adolescents (N = 164) and adult women (219) in the studied populations. Caboclo are admixed rural, peasant groups that live along the Amazon river and its tributaries, and there are few previous studies about them. Probit analysis of the status quo data yielded a median age at menarche of 12.29 ± 1.76 years. The retrospective method was applied to recall data of the 77 post-menarcheal adolescents, yielding an average of 13.06 ± 1.27 years. Number of children in the family did not show any statistical influence on age at menarche in any age group. In adult women, age at menarche decreased from 14.50 in those born in 1930 to 12.88 for those born in 1980 (F = 4.371, P = 0.001). The downward trend found was, on average, 0.237 year per decade in the study period. The median age at menarche in the adolescents (12.29 years) is one of the lowest values found for Central and South American populations. In the ecological context, a low age at menarche could be an adaptive advantage because it provides a greater chance for reproduction at a young age in an environment where, until recently, life expectancy was low. As has been reported for other developing countries, the change found in age at menarche in the women born from the 1930s to the 1980s is likely to be related to changes in health and nutritional factors that occurred in Brazil because this country experienced significant improvement in living standards related to education, vaccination, and health conditions, which, although not equally, reached all regions after the 1960s. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 18:83-92, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.20458
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CIAS - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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