Influence of adult knee height, age at first birth, migration, and current age on adult physical function of Bangladeshi mothers and daughters in the United Kingdom and Bangladesh

Barry Bogin, Diane Harper, Joy Merrell, Jasmin Chowdhury, Michael Heinrich, Vanja Garaj, Bablin Molik, Janice L Thompson

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Abstract

In the United Kingdom, Bangladeshi women have the lowest self-reported levels of physical activity and some of the highest levels of metabolic disease of all ethnic groups. To better understand these risks for poor health we employed life course and intergenerational hypotheses to predict lower body physical function in a sample of 121 Bangladeshi mothers (40–70 years old) and one of their adult daughters (17–36 years old) living in Bangladesh or in the UK. For the mothers, older age and shorter knee height predicted reduced lower body physical function. Knee height is a biomarker of nutrition and health status between birth and puberty. Age at first birth did not have a significant effect. For daughters, older age and migration to the UK predicted reduced lower body physical function. We controlled for total stature and fatness in all analyses. UK-born daughters were taller than BD-born daughters living in the UK, mostly due to differences in knee height. These new findings support previous research indicating that early life health and adequate nutritional status, along with appropriate adult physical activity and diet, may decrease risks for poor physical function, morbidity, and premature mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number808634
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Anthropology
Volume2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2014

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