The Relationship between Body Structure and the Socio-Economic Status in Hungarian Children and Adolescents

Annamaria Zsakai, Eva B Bodzsar


Among the numerous factors that influence the pattern of children’s growth and development there are factors of the changeable socio-economic environment. The inequalities among the socio-economic strata in the Hungarian society have increased during last decades. The main objective of the study was to examine the body structure of children and adolescents living in different socio-economic backgrounds. The subjects of the present paper (9479 boys, 9304 girls) were examined in the 2nd Hungarian National Growth Study 2003-2006. Body structure was assessed by some absolute body dimensions, BMI, body composition and body shape indices. Children were grouped into relatively good, average and poor socio-economic subgroups by considering the education and occupation of the parents as well as the number of children in the family. Significant differences were found in the body structure of children varying in the socio-economic background: the better the socio-economic conditions the higher stature in both genders, while the lower relative fatness was found only in pubertal girls. The prevalence of unhealthy nutritional statuses (both underweight and overweight/obese) was significantly lower in children living in better socio-economic conditions in both genders. Differences that were found in the body structure of children living in different socio-economic backgrounds emphasize the importance of using reference growth values layered also to socio-economic strata for screening nutritional status in childhood and adolescence.


2nd Hungarian National Growth Study (2003-2006), socio-economic background, nutritional status, body composition, somatotype

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