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Type: Journal article
Title: Growth of specific muscle strength between 6 and 18 years in contrasting socioeconomic conditions
Author: Henneberg, M.
Brush, G.
Harrison, G.
Citation: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2001; 115(1):62-70
Publisher: Wiley-Liss
Issue Date: 2001
ISSN: 0002-9483
Statement of
Maciej Henneberg, Gerry Brush, Geoffrey A. Harrison
Abstract: The influence of sex, age, and socioeconomic conditions on specific grip strength of 6-18-year-old individuals was studied among 1,704 males and 1,956 females belonging to the so-called "Cape Coloured" community in the western part of South Africa. Half of the participants of both sexes came from communities in the Greater Cape Town area where living conditions are comparable to those of middle-class First World communities (high SES). The other half came from the poorest rural communities of Klein Karoo (low SES). Arm circumferences, triceps skinfold thickness, and grip strength of the right and of the left hand were greater in individuals from high SES at all ages. Females within each SES group had skinfolds thicker than males, especially at older ages, and were weaker. Specific grip strength (SS), estimated as grip strength per unit area of cross section of the fat-free arm, increased with age in each group, was greater in males, and was significantly lower in low SES groups, than in the high SES ones, especially during and after puberty. It seems that SES difference in SS will persist into adulthood. Sexual differences in SS can be attributed to hormonal differences; while the SS increase with age and the difference between SES groups find no clear explanation in current theories of muscle growth and development. Since the speed of neuromuscular reaction observed in our participants is slower among low SES individuals, it seems that the difference in neuromuscular control of strength may be responsible for our findings. Differences in muscle metabolism and hormonal regulation must also be considered.
Keywords: Muscle, Skeletal; Humans; Hand Strength; Child Development; Motor Skills; Reaction Time; Sex Factors; Muscle Development; Puberty; Anthropology, Physical; Social Class; Adolescent; Child; South Africa; Female; Male
Description: The definitive version may be found at
RMID: 0020010741
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1057
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Anatomical Sciences publications

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