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Comparison of Spinal Curvatures in the Sagittal Plane, as Well as Body Height and Mass in Polish Children and Adolescents Examined in the Late 1950s and in the Early 2000s

Mirosław Mrozkowiak, Katarzyna Walicka-Cupryś, Grzegorz Magoń

(Faculty of Physical Education, Health and Tourism, Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Bydgoszcz, Poland)

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:4489-4500

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.907134

BACKGROUND: Humans are exposed to various stimuli which lead to somatic modifications and changes in body posture, negatively affecting many of its characteristics. The purpose of this study was to assess significant alterations which occurred in selected morphological features and spinal curvatures in children and adolescents over a period of 40 years.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The total of 7041 subjects, aged 4–18 years (mean age 11.3 years) were included in the study, which was designed to compare measurements performed in year 1959 (Group 1, n=3235 individuals) and in year 2003 (Group 2, n=3806 individuals). The children were examined for body height, body mass, as well as thoracic and lumbar curvatures. In 1959, the measurements were carried out using a spherodorsimeter, while in 2003, the CQ System photogrammetry was used, producing corresponding results. The Mann-Whitney U test and the Student’s t-test were used for statistical analysis.
RESULTS: The findings showed a significant decrease in the angle of lumbar lordosis and in sacral inclination as well as an increase in body height and mass, particularly in prepubertal children. On the other hand, the angle of thoracic kyphosis and the partial angles of physiological spinal curvatures changed only to a small degree over the 40-year period.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence related to changes which occurred during the relevant period of over 40 years, namely a decrease in both the angle of lumbar lordosis and the sacral inclination angle, as well as an increase in body height and mass. These changes should be taken into consideration in selecting norms and standards applied in healthcare services, and the findings suggest it is necessary to regularly update such standards.

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