Anatomy Project Topics

Anthropometry, Body Composition and Reproductive Characteristics of Women From Kaduna and Rivers States, Nigeria

Anthropometry, Body Composition and Reproductive Characteristics of Women From Kaduna and Rivers States, Nigeria

Anthropometry, Body Composition and Reproductive Characteristics of Women From Kaduna and Rivers States, Nigeria

Chapter One

Objective of the Study 

The objectives of the study are to:

  1. investigate the anthropometric indices, body composition parameters and menstrual characteristics of women from Kaduna and Rivers States
  2. investigate the relationship between anthropometric and menstrual characteristics of women from Kaduna and Rivers States women.
  3. compare the prevalence of depression between women from Kaduna and Rivers States during their menstruation.
  4. investigate the effect of menstrual pain on the daily activities of women from Kaduna and Rivers States.



Body height

Body height is a classic example of a polygenic inherited trait, which is also substantially influenced by environmental factors during fetal life, childhood, and adolescence (Sinclair, 1989). Recently, interest in body height as an indicator of childhood living conditions has increased remarkably in the field of epidemiology. Body height has also been used as a societal level indicator of the standard of living. The important focus here is on the dramatic increase in body height throughout the world during the 20th century.

The increase in body height has been uniform with the possible exceptions of the two world wars, and it seems to be a universal process occurring worldwide in both affluent societies and in the developing world (Silventoinen, 2003). In Europe, mean body height has increased about 1 cm per decade during the 20th century (Cavelaars et al., 2000). This increase is similar across European countries, and the differences in mean body height have generally remained stable over birth cohorts. Earlier research reported that the Dutch people are the tallest in Europe (Cavelaars et al., 2000). Reasons for this geographic pattern are not fully understood, and both environmental and genetic differences between the populations offer potential explanations. However, since the increasing trends in body height during the last century have generally been very similar in European populations, it is probable that genetic factors are most important when explaining these geographic differences in height. Variation in the heritability estimates of body height was larger between the study populations in women compared to men.

Previous report have suggested that women are more resistant to environmental stress than that in men (Stini, 1969), in addition, heritability of body height is lower among women than in men and there is also greater geographic variation in the heritability estimates among women. This is probably due to unidentified environmental factors specific to women only, which may vary more in time and between populations (Silventoinen et al., 2003).

Living conditions during the growing year‘s especially in early child hood influence body height through their impact on net nutrition, namely the balance between the supplies of nutrition and the demands of metabolism, physical exertion and disease (Silventoinen 2003; Steckel 2009). Generally, it is believed that some differences in stature between human societies have a genetic basis (Holden and Mace, 1999). Environment also influences the stature of an individual, lowered nutritional standard and health care conditions can cause the mean stature of a population to decrease (Komlos, 1998). Gustafsson et al. (2007) reported that the mean stature of a population varies with living conditions.

Differences in the mean height across countries indicate a high degree of continuity of differences between countries in childhood living conditions (Cavelaars et al., 2000). Similarly, the persistence of education-related height differences indicates continuity of socio-economic differences in childhood living conditions (Cavelaars et al., 2000). Vashisht et al. (2005) studied physical growth and nutritional status of Garhwali girls, they observed that well nourished Indian girls and American girls show better performance in physical growth parameter like Height, weight and chest circumference as compared to Garhwali girls at all ages (5-12 years).The present state of malnutrition in the Garhwali girls may probably be attributed to their low middle socioeconomic background, lack of knowledge of the simplest facts of nutrition and due to poverty.

Mukharjee et al. (2008) compared fathers rank as a Marker for socioeconomic status. Three categories of fathers rank i.e. Officer‘s, Junior Commanding Officers(JCO) and Other Ranks (OR) was chosen with declining socioeconomic status and it was seen that children of OR‘S had higher prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight as compared to other categories. The socioeconomic factors and normal physical growth are interrelated. There are various socioeconomic factors which affect adversely the socioeconomic status of a person and hence the growth. These factors are large families, overcrowding, poor sanitation, poor recreation facilities, air pollution, recurrent acute infections, chronic infections, heavy parasitic infection, more demands, lack of breast feeding, breast addiction (Malegaonkar et al., 2011).

 Body height, body weight, and Age at Menarche

Although mechanisms involved in the negative correlation between obesity and age at menarche is not fully understood, Van Lenthe et al. (1996) suggested that many endocrine factors affect the rate of sexual maturity and fat accumulation in the body. Firsch (1974; 1994) believe that a girl needs to attain a minimum weight of 47.8 kg for her to start menstruating and the required body fat percentage of a girl before the onset of menstruation is between 16  to 23.7 %.

A critical weight, or height is needed for the onset of menstruation, and changes in the dietary habits of girls may have led to the increase in weight and height (Oland-More etal., 2005). Several studies have shown that girls with a higher body weight, high BMI, more body fat and greater height, have an early age at menarche (Petridou et al., 1996).






 The following Anthropometric Tools/ Equipments were used for this study: Stadiometer, Measuring Tape, and Skinfold Caliper. Inner Scan Body Composition Monitor (TANITA, JAPAN) was also used to obtain Body composition parameters. All body measurements were obtained with subjects in anatomical position, except otherwise specified. The Becks depression inventory was used to measure the level of depression during menstruation.



Descriptive statistics of study population

 Seven hundred and eighty-eight (788) subjects, Kaduna (n=387) and Rivers (n=401) State women, aged 18 to 30 years participated in this study which are indigenes, born and brought up within the states.

Table 4.1 revealed the baseline characteristics of the study population. Majority of the study subject were within age 21-23 years for Kaduna subjects (166; 42.9 %) and age 18-20 years for Rivers subjects (141; 35.2 %). Normal BMI was observed among majority of the study subjects (Kaduna: 249, 64.3 %; Rivers: 253, 63.1 %); while the subjects in the class of obesity were few in this study (Kaduna: 22, 5.7 %; Rivers: 28, 7.0 %). Minimal depression during menstruation was observed among majority of the study subjects (Kaduna: 257, 66.4 %; Rivers: 270, 67.3 %). It was also observed that the father‘s (Kaduna: 305, 78.8 %; Rivers: 234, 58.4 %) and mother‘s (Kaduna: 263, 68 %; Rivers: 195, 48.8 %) of most of our participants have attained tertiary level of education.



Description of anthropometric variables

Body mass index is the anthropometric variable frequently used in clinical research to investigate the relationship between weight excess and psychopathology. In this present study, the mean Body mass index (BMI) was 22.98 kg/m2 and 22.78 kg/m2 for Kaduna and Rivers States respectively. The mean BMI value of study subjects corresponds to normal BMI on the BMI reference data (Ferro-Luzzi et al., 1992). Results revealed that over 64.3 % of Kaduna and 63.1 % of Rivers women had normal weight. About 20 % were overweight, while 5.7 % and 7.0 % of Kaduna and Rivers women respectively were obese. The prevalence of obesity obtained in the present study was lower than those reported in USA (15%) in females 20-65 years old, United Kingdom (9 %) in females 20-65 years and higher than that of Itally (3.9 %) in females 15-44 years old (Epstein and Higgins, 1992). However, the prevalence obtained in this study was higher than reported by Izuora (2007) in Lagos. It is assumed that areas with low prevalence of obesity may also have decrease health problems, cardiovascular diseases high blood pressure and sleep apnea (Cunningham and Mackerras, 1998; NIH, 1998).

Prevalence of underweight females in this study was lower than those reported by Madriaga et al. (1998) in Philippines. The differences in the prevalence of underweight obtained in the study from previous reports could be due to the age range of individuals and sample size used. Madriaga et al. (1998) used a larger sample size (6,079). Moreso, prevalence of overweight females in the present study (25 < BMI > 29.9) was higher than those reported by Madriaga et al. (1998) and Ukegbu et al. (2007) in the Philippines and Nigeria respectively. However, the result of overweight females in this study is similar to that reported by Al- Sheed et al. (2007) in Saudi Arabia. It is presumed that the difference in overweight females obtained in both studies could be due to the methodology used, sample location and ages of individual sampled (Heald and Gong, 1999). Ukegbu et al. (2007) sampled secondary school boarding students, while Al-Sheed et al. (2007) sampled females within the age range of 6- 17 years. Pre-adolescent, according Heald and Gong (1999) have been reported to have higher overweight rate.

Body height is a polygenic trait which is substantially influenced by environmental factors during fetal life, childhood and adolescence (Sinclair, 1989). Results from this study indicate that, Kaduna women were shorter than their Rivers counterparts. The possible reason for this variation in body height could be tied to both environmental and genetic difference between the two populations (Silventoinen et al., 2003). However, Silventoinen et al. (2001) have argued that, genetic factor are the most important factor contributing to geographical difference in height. In addition, some authors have reported that the standard of living during childhood influences height (Silventoinen, 2003; Steckel, 2009), women from Rivers State are believed to have access to sea food rich in protein than those from Kaduna State.

In the present study, it was observed that Rivers women were heavier than Kaduna women. The difference in weight between two populations portrays their distinctiveness and genetic potentials (Sampei et al., 2008). Family Socioeconomic status (SES) is an important predictor of children‘s overweight (Kleier et al., 2009; Andgiorgish et al., 2012; Zadzinska et al., 2012). The mean weight obtained in this study is similar to that reported by Akinyemi and Ibrahim (2009) for women in Rivers state but higher than that obtained for women in Kaduna state.




Rivers State women presented higher anthropometric variables than their Kaduna State counterparts, except for arm, forearm and calf circumference. Rivers women are taller, weightier and have thicker skinfold than the Kaduna women. No difference was observed between the chest, hip, waist and thigh circumference of Kaduna and Rivers women.

Rivers women also presented higher body composition parameters than their Kaduna State counterparts, except for total body water, physique rating and bone mass. The amount of calorie needed to meet the energy requirement in Rivers women was higher than that of the Kaduna women. Muscle mass of Rivers women was higher than that of Kaduna women, implying that Rivers women are less prone to depression.

Difference was also observed in menstrual characteristics of Kaduna and Rivers women except for average menstrual cycle. Normal ovulatory cycle (regular menstruation) was higher in Kaduna women, implying that Kaduna women are likely to have higher reproductive success than Rivers women.

Relationship between body circumferences and menstrual characteristics was observed. Rivers women with smaller hip circumference experienced menstrual flow of 4-6 days, while those with larger hip and forearm circumference experienced a menstrual flow of ≤ 3days. Kaduna women with WHR ≤ 0.80 do not experience dysmenorrhea, while those with WHR≥ 0.80 do experience dysmenorrhea. Rivers women with larger calf and forearm circumference do not experience dysmenorrhea. In addition, Rivers women with smaller chest and forearm circumference do not experience dysmenorrhea.

The prevalence of severe depression was higher among Kaduna women. Minimal, moderate and mild depression was higher among Rivers women than their Kaduna counterparts. A relatively larger number of women who experienced menstrual pain often were absent from studies during menstruation.


There are differences between anthropometric parameters, body composition parameters and menstrual characteristics of women from Kaduna and Rivers States. There are relationships between anthropometric parameters and body composition, anthropometric parameters and menstrual characteristics, body composition and menstrual characteristics.


In the light of the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Further studies are required to find out if menstrual cycle becomes normal within the first six months or a year after
  2. Further investigation to determine if menstrual pain exceed the first, second or third day of menstruation.
  3. Further work to be carried out to ascertain if premenstrual symptom can be experienced in every menstrual cycle.