The secular trend of height and menarche in Belgium: are there any signs of a future stop?
M. Vercauteren and C. Susanne
Abstract Changes such as an increase in stature, in weight and an earlier physical and sexual maturation have been observed since the 19th century in Belgium as in most industrialized countries.
In this paper, we consider the secular trend in height, weight and puberty (especially menarche) over the last 20 years in Brussels. During the period 1980–1982, 4177 subjects, from the Belgian population of Brussels, aged 3–26 years, have been measured and compared with Belgian subjects living in Brussels in 1960.
In our sample, we observe a statistically significant increase in height (and weight), but this trend is less rapid than the increases noticed before in Belgium.
Status quo data on menarche from 1048 girls from this sample were analysed by centiles and the probit method. For the first time in Belgium, it seems that the median age is stabilized at 13.0 years. However, the number of late menarches is still evolving.