Human Biological Observations on West-African Schoolchildren
The first observation deals with an aspect of body composition in children of school-going age: inter-tissue correlations. This problem has been extensively dealt with by Tanner et al. Widely quoted is Tanner’s finding in young adults that measurements of each of the three tissues distinguished in his model, measured at different sites, are correlated positively but appear to be virtually independent of measurements of the other tissues (Tanner, 1977). Recently, Tanner et al. 1981, presented the results of correlation studies in children from age 3 — 18 yrs. The correlations have been calculated at all ages and for both sexes. As in the young adult study, the fat/muscle and fat/bone correlations approximated zero both in the arm and in the calf, and the muscle/bone correlations did not reach significance in the majority of the age groups. The findings in adults have been discussed elsewhere (Huizinga, 1979, 1981). In 4 different West-African adult male groups and 2 adult female groups correlation coefficients have been computed between several parameters of muscle-, bone- and fat mass. These groups belong to Bozo and other Djennéans (1977–1979, Mali), Fali (1968, 1970, Cameroons) and Nankana (1980, Upper Volta) and they were studied in the years indicated during the winter months, i.e. in the middle of the dry season when on average the nutritional status is relatively satisfactory. The between-tissue correlations are virtually zero except in the case of bone/muscle associations where highly significant positive correlations were found in all distinguished ethnic, sex and age groups.
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