The Hungarian Longitudinal Growth Study: From birth to the age of 18 years

  • Kálmán Joubert
  • Gyula Gyenis
Keywords: longitudinal growth study, reference growth charts, body mass index, weightfor-height, head circumference, chest circumference, skinfold measurements, child care, children, youth, development


This Working Paper presents the main results of the ‘Hungarian Longitudinal Growth Study’. It was the first longitudinal, nationally representative research programme in Hungary that focused on children aged between birth and 18 years of age; the number of subjects was 2,984 boys and 2,701 girls at birth, and 516 boys and 523 girls at 18 years of age. The volume is divided in four sections. The first introduces the sampling procedure and the confidence parameters of the studied anthropometric dimensions. The second represents the age-related reference values (mean, standard deviations, centiles) and growth charts (centile distribution) of body length/height, body weight, body mass index, weight-for-height, head circumference, chest circumference, abdominal circumference and skinfold measurements (triceps, subscapular, iliospinal, abdominal) between 0 and 18 years of age. The third section presents the first reference values and charts of body height velocity between three and 18 years of age. From the total sample 325 boys’ and 309 girls’ individual growth data (aged between three and 18 years) were used to construct these body height velocity references. The fourth section summarises the main results concerning menarcheal age in the studied representative sample. The mean age of menarche was 12.59 years (± 0.96 years SD, n: 1709 girls). By considering the mean age at peak height velocity (PHV: 8.32 cm/year) in girls, i.e. 11.2 years of age and this indicator of sexual maturation, it was possible to state that menarche occurred 16.44 months later than the mean age at PHV in girls in the sample. The differences between mature and non-mature girls (this division was made on the basis of menarche) in body height, body weight, body mass index and chest circumference, were also analysed in the last section. Printed publications arising from research results of the Hungarian Longitudinal Growth Study are listed at the end of the paper.