Age, altitude and gender differences in body dimensions
Tyagi,Renu;Tungdim, Mary Grace;Bhardwaj, Shaila;Kapoor, Satwanti
The present study was conducted to study ageing process in a high altitude population and a population residing in plains with a special emphasis on gender differences in physical and physiological traits. An endogamous population of the Rajput caste group staying in the Sirmaur District(altitude= 2438.4 m a.s.l.- 3048 m a.s.l.)of Himachal Pradesh was studied. A total of 151 subjects,males(n = 81)and females (n = 70) between the age range 40 - 75 years,was measured. Similarly an endogamous population of Punjabi speaking(both Khatri and Arora) residing in Delhi(plains)was studied. A total of 288 subjects from the plains,females (n=149) and males (n=139)ranging in age from 55-80 years and above was measured. Comparative changes in anthropometric measurements(stature,sitting height,body weight,biceps skinfold thickness,triceps skinfold thickness,upper arm circumference,hip circumference,waist circumference,calf circumference) and physiological variables (heart rate,systolic blood pressure,diastolic blood pressure and average grip strength)were studied. Cormic Index (CI),Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Hip Ratio (WHR) were computed. ANOVA was conducted to find the intergroup variation. Significant gender differences were found for all the physiological and some of the anthropometric variables(stature,sitting height and skinfold thicknesses)between populations from high altitude and plains. Both the structural and functional variables were found to be significantly influenced by age. Women in all the age categories from the plains were found to be overweight(BMI range 23.9 kg/m 2 - 26.8 kg/m 2)unlike women at high altitude. The majority of the males and females from hills were reported to belong to normal weight category. The WHR was found to be higher among males than in females from both the regions. All the variables were not found to be equally age dependant reflecting differential rate of ageing in various dimensions. The population inhabiting different environmental conditions varied in the rate of relative ageing.