Introduction Lower socioeconomic position is associated with shorter stature, in particular shorter leg length, but the magnitude of these associations in non-Western countries has received little attention.
Aim To examine socioeconomic differentials in height, leg and trunk length in 6.5 year olds from the Republic of Belarus and compare these to differentials in parental height.
Methods We used data from a cohort of 13 889 children born in Belarus between June 1996 and December 1997 to investigate associations of parental educational attainment and highest household occupation with: a) measured child standing height, trunk and leg length at age 6.5 years; and b) the parents' reported standing height. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine associations.
Results Children from non-manual households were 1.1 cm (95% CI 0.8 to 1.3 cm) taller than those from manual households. Mothers and fathers from non-manual backgrounds were 0.7 cm (0.5 to 0.8) and 1.8 cm (1.6 to 2.0) taller than those from manual backgrounds, respectively. Associations with higher parental educational attainment were similar. The magnitudes of the associations of socioeconomic position with leg length were similar to those with trunk length. Adjusting for mid-parental height and number of older siblings attenuated children's associations markedly.
Conclusions In Belarus, similar socioeconomic differentials in height were observed in both children and their parents. Among children height differentials were partly explained by mid-parental height and number of older siblings. Leg length was not a more sensitive indicator of childhood socioeconomic conditions than trunk length.
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