Growth and nutritional status of male adolescent laborers in Ankara, Turkey

Duyar I., Ozener B.

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, vol.128, no.3, pp.693-698, 2005 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 128 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/ajpa.20064
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.693-698
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: No


Undernutrition, pathogenic agents, and poor living conditions are of primary importance in the evaluation of adverse environmental conditions' effects on human growth; but child labor (an equally significant factor, especially in underdeveloped countries) is generally overlooked or ignored. The aim of this study is to focus on this subject and clarify the effects of labor on the physical growth and nutritional status of child and adolescent laborers. In this study, the height and weight of 532 male adolescent laborers aged 13.5-18.5 years and their nonlaboring peers (n = 451) (the control group) were measured by standard anthropometric techniques and equipment. The individuals of both groups come from lower socioeconomic strata and share similar living conditions. Data were transformed to z-scores, using the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2000 growth charts. The analyses show that the z-scores for height-forage, weight-for-age, and body mass index (BMI)-for-age were negative in both groups. The z-scores of laborers' height-for-age and weight-for-age values lie below the controls', but there is no significant difference between the two groups' BMI-for-age scores. In the laboring group, the percentages of stunting (-2 SD of height-for-age), underweight (-2 SD of weight-for-age), and wasting (-2 SD of BMI-for-age) were 14.3, 2.6, and 0.2, respectively. These values suggest that malnutrition is not a common problem among adolescent laborers living in Ankara; but laboring is an important cause of faltering in growth, particularly in linear growth, in less or underdeveloped economic environments.