Adult stature and age at menarche in Zapotec-speaking communities in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, in a secular perspective. Academic Article uri icon


  • Adult stature and the age at menarche among individuals from Zapotec-speaking communities in the Valley of Oaxaca in southern Mexico are considered in a secular perspective. Four sets of observations are utilized: 1) adult stature in males and females from five rural communities; 2) age at menarche in adult women and school girls from a single rural community; 3) earlier studies of adult stature in the Valley of Oaxaca; and 4) estimated stature from long bones excavated in various archaeological sites in the Valley of Oaxaca. There were no significant differences among the five communities for stature; hence, the data were pooled for analysis and comparison. Results of linear regression of stature and stature adjusted for the estimated effects of aging after 30 years of age on year of birth indicate negligible secular changes in either sex. Comparisons with statures from earlier surveys, the earliest dates to 1899, also indicate negligible changes. When adult women are grouped according to age, there are no differences in mean ages at menarche between the older and younger women. Mean age at menarche for the total adult sample is 14.53 +/- 0.08 years, which compares favorably with the probit estimate for school girls, 14.70 +/- 0.32 years. These results thus suggest virtually no secular change in adult size and maturity of the Zapotec-speaking population in the Valley of Oaxaca over the past 80 years. Differences in stature between contemporary populations and estimated statures from long bones from several archaeological sites in Oaxaca are small, and thus suggests little secular change over the past one to two-thousand years.

published proceedings

  • Am J Phys Anthropol

author list (cited authors)

  • Malina, R. M., Selby, H. A., Buschang, P. H., Aronson, W. L., & Wilkinson, R. G.

citation count

  • 49

complete list of authors

  • Malina, RM||Selby, HA||Buschang, PH||Aronson, WL||Wilkinson, RG

publication date

  • April 1983