ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 16 P348

Secular height changes in Greek conscripts

Grigorios Fytanidis1, Anastasios Papadimitriou1, Dimitrios Papadimitriou1, Iakovos Fytanidis2 & Polyxeni Nicolaidou1

1Paediatric Endocrinology Unit, Third Department of Paediatrics, Attikon University Hospital, University of Athens, Haidari, Attiki, Greece; 2Surgery Department, Rethymno General Hospital, Rethymno, Greece.

Introduction: In some developed countries, the acceleration of physical development has already reached a plateau.

Objective: Aim of our study was to examine whether an improvement of the body height of adult men is still observed in Greece and to correlate the body height with socio-economic and demographic factors.

Research methods and procedures: The height of 3068 Greek conscripts, aged 18–26 years, was measured and analyzed according to their socio-demographic characteristics, level of education (according to the years of obligatory education) and type of residence (urban or rural). Our data were compared with those of similar studies performed in 1968 and 1990.

Results: The mean height (±S.D.) of the recruit soldiers was 177.4 (±7.0) cm. Mean height according to the type of residence and educational level is shown in Table 1.

Table 1
Years of schoolingUrbanRural
Mean height (±S.D.) cmP
Total178.1 (7.1)176.4 (6.7)<0.0001
≤9174.4 (7.0)174.6 (7.8)174.2 (6.3)NS*
≥10177.9 (6.9)178.3 (6.9)176.8 (6.7)<0.0001
*Non significant.

From 1990 to 2007 mean height increased from 175.7 (S.E.M. 0.15) cm to 177.4 (S.E.M. 0.22) cm, corresponding to 1 cm per decade, P<0.0001. From 1968 to 1990 mean height increased from 167.9 to 175.7 cm, corresponding to 3.5 cm per decade.


In the last 38 years a continuous significant increase of Greek men’s final height was shown. However, in the last 16 years a deceleration of the rate of the improvement of the final stature was observed. The socio-economic status and the type of residence have a significant influence on body height. It appears that the male Greek population has still not exhausted its genetic potential.

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