Sex- and age-related variations of the somatotype in a Chuvasha population

L. Kalichman, E. Kobyliansky

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20 Scopus citations


The aim of this large, cross-sectional study was to describe the age- and sex-related variations of the somatotype, employing Heath and Carter's method, in a Chuvasha population residing in a rural region in central Russia. The investigated sample included 802 males aged 18-89 years (mean 46.9) and 738 females aged 18-90 years (mean 48.6). We evaluated the age and sex differences by one-way ANOVA with somatotype components as dependent variables and sex or age groups as grouping variables. Sex differences of somatotypes appear to be the strongest for endomorphy, with generally higher values in women. Endomorphy in males remained virtually unchanged after 30 years of age, but endomorphy in females kept increasing up to the 6th decade, and then subsequently decreased. Virtually no differences were noted in mesomorphy and a very small difference in ectomorphy between males and females aged 18-30 years. A reduction of sexual dimorphism in all somatotype components after age 70 was also observed. The largest difference of all somatotype components appeared between age groups 18-30 and 31-40 years. Thereafter, somatotypes remained practically unchanged. Mesomorphy continued to increase until the 5th decade in both sexes, while in females, endomorphy continuously increased until their 6th decade. In the 7th and 8th decades, a decrease in mean values was observed. Mesomorphy and ectomorphy showed opposite age-related trends. Results of our study clearly suggest that in physique investigations, the somatotypes need to be studied in each sex separately, and in studies of young people, they need also to be adjusted to age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-162
Number of pages12
JournalHOMO- Journal of Comparative Human Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 19 May 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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