Original paper

Growth status of Korean orphans raised in the affluent West: anthropometric trend, multivariate determinants, and descriptive comparison with their North and South Korean peers

Schwekendiek, Daniel J.

Anthropologischer Anzeiger Volume 74 No. 1 (2017), p. 57 - 63

published: Apr 1, 2017
published online: Jan 26, 2017
manuscript accepted: Aug 5, 2016
manuscript revision received: Jul 29, 2016
manuscript revision requested: Jul 1, 2016
manuscript received: Jun 22, 2015

DOI: 10.1127/anthranz/2017/0678

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP140007401006, Price: 29.00 €

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Abstract This paper investigates the trend in height among adult Korean orphans who were adopted in early life into affluent Western nations. Final heights of 148 females were analyzed based on a Korean government survey conducted in 2008. Height of the orphans was descriptively compared against final heights of South and North Koreans. Furthermore, statistical determinants of orphan height were investigated in multivariate regressions. Mean height of Korean orphans was 160.44 cm (SD 5.89), which was higher than that of South Koreans at 158.83 cm (SD 5.01). Both Korean orphans and South Koreans were taller than North Koreans at 155.30 cm (SD 4.94). However, height of Korean orphans stagnated at around 160–161 cm while those of North and South Koreans improved over time. In the regression analysis, the socioeconomic status of the adoptive family was statistically significant in all models, while dummies for the adoptive nations and age at adoption were insignificant. This study shows that the mean final height of women experiencing extreme environmental improvements in early-life is capped at 160–161 cm, tentatively suggesting that social stress factors in the host nation or early-life factors in the birth nation might have offset some of the environmental enrichment effects achieved through intercountry adoption.


heightstatureadoptionsecular trendbiological standard of livinganthropometric history