Inicio > medicina de altura, pediatria > Altitude and growth: A study of the patterns of physical growth of a high altitude Peruvian Quechua population

Altitude and growth: A study of the patterns of physical growth of a high altitude Peruvian Quechua population

A. Roberto Frisancho 1 2, Paul T. Baker 1 2
1Center for Human Growth and Development and Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
2Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State Uinversity, University Park, Pennsylvania

American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Volume 32 Issue 2, Pages 279 – 292

Published Online: 28 Apr 2005

Abstract
Data on physical growth were obtained for a sample of 1202 Quechua subjects, aged 2 to 35 years from the district of Nuñoa, Puno, located in the southern highlands (altitude 4000-5500m) of Peru. These data were supplemented by a three-year longitudinal study of 300 subjects, aged 1 to 22 years.
The patterns of physical growth of members of the indigenous population of Nuñoa are characterized by (1) late sexual dimorphism, (2) slow and prolonged growth in body size, (3) late and poorly defined adolescent stature spurt in both males and females, and (4) accelerated development in chest size. The socio-economic factors associated with urban-rural and altitude differences appear to be reflected in greater deposition of subcutaneous fat and increased weight but do not seem to influence the development of stature. We suggest the pattern of growth of this population is related to the hypoxic effects of high altitude, and/or reflects a genetic adaptation to such stress. The anthropometric and physiological studies conducted during this and previous studies and the comparative data from Peruvian populations situated at lower altitudes document the specific adaptive response of the chest wall to the hypoxic effects of high altitude.
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