Childhood growth, current age, and waist circumference predict biological reserve capacity, physical performance, and rapid aging in Bangladeshi women
Keywords:child growth, migration, social isolation, reserve capacity, lower body performance
Background: The UK Bangladeshi community is socially disadvantaged, and many adults suffer from obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Rapid aging has been noted.
Objectives: Analyse biosocial trade-offs in growth, adult body composition, and reproduction, which are risk factors for age-related decline in physical performance, more rapid aging, frailty, and death.
Methods: Sample: 40 Bangladeshi mothers (40-70 years old), one of their adult daughters (N=37, 18-36 years old) in the United Kingdom (UK), and 22 mother-daughter pairs of the same age range in Bangladesh (BD). Measurements: anthropometry, including knee height, migration, demographic history, education level, current menstruation (yes/no), and a 7-component lower body physical function score (PFS). Analysis: ridge regression and St Nikolas House Analysis (SNHA).
Results: All the women are of short stature (x̄=150cm), with especially low knee height. Daughters who migrated to the UK have shorter knee height than daughters born in the UK. Marriage age was 16-18 years and total pregnancies of ~6 per mother, ~3 per daughter. UK mothers have higher fatness and lower PFS than BD women. Greater knee height predicts greater PFS, and that greater waist circumference and older age predict a lower PFS. SNHA finds that knee height is the most direct predictor of PFS.
Conclusion: Adult knee height may serve as a sensitive indicator of early life physical and emotional well-being and predict physical performance, a risk factor for frailty and death. International migration of daughters is associated with poorer health status and physical performance at later ages.
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