Association of Hand Length with Height in Nigerian School Children

Estimation of the body size such as height and weight are required for assessment of growth, nutritional status, calculating body surface area and predicting pulmonary function of children (Gauld et al., 2004; Amirsheybani et al., 2000). Measurement of height is important for determination of basic energy requirement, standardization, and measures of physical capacity and for adjusting drug dosages (Jalzem and Gledhill, 1993). However in some situations the exact height cannot be determined directly because the patient is unable to stand as a result of neuromuscular weakness, deformities of axial skeleton such as kyphosis, lordosis, scoliosis, lost of lower limbs and in patients who have undergone amputations (Duyar and Pelin, 2003; Duyar et al., 2006). In such patients, height does not reflect the body size and the use of height measurements in prediction equation is likely to produce error. For example in scoliosis patients, the predicted spirometric values were underestimated when the measured body was used and under such circumstances, an estimate of height has to be computed based on another body parameters (Amirsheybani et al., 2001; De Mendonca, 2000).

The hand length was found to be the most reliable alternative and the hand can be used as a basis for estimating age-related loss in height. The length of the body while alive is one of the key parameters established in the course of identification of unknown skeletal remains (Hauser et al., 2005; Auberch and Ruff, 2004). Stature provides insight into various features of a population including nutritional health and genetics. Stature is considered as one of the parameters for personal identification (Krishan and Sharma, 2007; Anitie, 2007).

The most important applications of anthropology at field level include biological anthropology, epidemiology, clinical application and in metabolic research (Bidmos, 2006; Bidmos, 2009). The hand length could be used to predict body weight status and body surface area independent of the sex of the individual (Bidmos, 2009). Correlation between hand length and foot length has also been studied and that if the hand length is known, the foot length can be predicted and vice-versa. Hand length has been shown to be a reliable and precise means in predicting the height of an individual (Gauld and Rakhir, 1996; Ebites et al., 2000).

In forensic investigations, the dimensions of the hand and foot have been used in the determination of sex, age, stature of an individual. Stature reconstruction is important as it provides forensic anthropological estimation of the height of a person in the living state which plays a vital role in the identification of individual remains (Bhatnagar et al., 1984; Boldsen, 1984). Intact long limb bones have been used in the derivation of regression equations for stature assessment in different population groups. Anthropologist observes and compared the relation between body and segments to highlight variations between and within groups. Determination of stature is a major concern in forensic medicine and forensic anthropology (Fessler et al., 2005). The bone area values at different sites strongly correlates to muscle strength and also correlate to body size; height, weight, lean mass, fat mass and body mass index (BMI) (Fessler et al, 2005). It is commonly accepted that standards for skeletal identification vary among different populations and the standard for one population may not be used for another (Thakur and Rai, 1987; Iscan, 1988).

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(Author: Augustine OSELOKA Ibegbu, Eniola Tosin David, Willson Oliver Hamman, Uduak Emmanuel Umana, Sunday Abraham Musa

Published by Macrothink Institute)