Human Growth pp 445-473 | Cite as

Secular Growth Changes

  • J. C. van Wieringen


The pattern of growth and somatic development of children in a particular population proves not to be static, but changing with time. Some investigators discussed the possibility of such changes, called secular growth changes, as early as the beginning of the 19th century, before the phenomenon had actually been observed (Virey, 1816; Villermé, 1829). Secular growth shift comprises a combination of the following phenomena: (1) decrease or increase in age at which a particular height or weight is attained, particular characteristics of maturation are developed, and linear growth is stopped; (2) increase or decrease in adult height. Increased growth velocity, earlier maturation (probably at an increased height), earlier cessation of linear growth, and a greater adult stature are changes that usually are associated. When these changes prevail, the adjective used is “positive,” whereas the adjective for the reverse situation is “negative.”


Sexual Maturation Secular Trend Adult Height Secular Change Early Maturation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. van Wieringen
    • 1
  1. 1.University Children’s Hospital, Het Wilhelmina KinderziekenhuisUtrechtThe Netherlands

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