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How can two biological variables have opposing secular trends, yet be positively related? A demonstration using timing of puberty and adult height

journal contribution
posted on 30.06.2020 by Liina Mansukoski, Will Johnson
Timing of puberty and adult height have opposing secular trends yet are positively associated in individuals. We demonstrate this using data from a single sample and discuss possible statistical and epidemiological reasons behind it. The sample comprised 365 females from Fels Longitudinal Study born 1929-1992. We used Super-Imposition by Translation and Rotation (SITAR) to estimate individual age at peak height velocity (PHV) and PHV from serial height data (8149 observations between 5-24 years). General linear regression was used to investigate the association between height and age at PHV, and secular trends in height, age at PHV and PHV. Although adult height increased 0.42 (95%CI 0.08, 0.77) cm per decade, and age at PHV decreased 1.14 (-3.74, 1.45) weeks per decade, adult height increased by 2.44 (1.78, 3.10) cm per year higher age at PHV. We found tentative evidence the positive association between age at PHV and adult height strengthened 0.25 (-0.09, 0.59) cm each decade. Secular trends in related variables may differ if the between-individual and between cohort associations are different. To understand if a secular trend in one variable has contributed to a trend in another, each needs to be modelled over time, together with the changing association between them.

Funding

Body size trajectories and cardio-metabolic resilience to obesity in three UK birth cohorts : MR/P023347/1

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Annals of Human Biology

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Publisher statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Annals of Human Biology on 5 August 2020, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03014460.2020.1795256.

Acceptance date

29/06/2020

Publication date

2020-08-05

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

0301-4460

eISSN

1464-5033

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Will Johnson Deposit date: 29 June 2020

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