Childhood growth, current age, and waist circumference predict biological reserve capacity, physical performance, and rapid aging in Bangladeshi women


  • Barry Bogin UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA), La Jolla, California, USA; Professor Emeritus of Biological Anthropology, School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, United Kingdom, 209



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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How to Cite

Bogin, B. (2023). Childhood growth, current age, and waist circumference predict biological reserve capacity, physical performance, and rapid aging in Bangladeshi women. Human Biology and Public Health, 3.