Variations in Body Length, Body Mass, Chest Circumference and Body Mass Index in Different Age Groups in Belarus

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341012
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: rural Belarusians, urban population, body length, body mass, chest circumference, body mass index.

Abstract
An analysis of the physical development of the adult population of Belarus was carried out on the basis of existing anthropometric data on two groups of inhabitants: Belarusians living in rural areas (4,660 people studied in 1970-1986), and a mixed national population of the most urbanized industrial city of the country– Minsk (1,182 people studied in 1996-1997). All material was integrated into age and gender cohorts with 10-year intervals. A comparison of rural and urban cohorts of the same gender and age has shown that urban citizens differed from their rural counterparts by having greater values for body length and lower values for body mass and chest circumference. Moreover, with regard to the younger generation, one is more likely to observe a greater difference in body length and chest circumference, with increased values, compared to the older generation. This fact would seem to indicate a more intense process of acceleration combined with leptosomization of the body among the urban population. Average body mass index (BMI) values were seen to increase regularly with age, and values were greater in all age cohorts of the rural population compared to urban ones. Scales for rating BMI (by calculating low, average, and high values) were devised for each age and gender cohort of the rural and urban populations, taking into account signal deviations. The use of these scales allowed us to establish the main tendency for an increased frequency of high BMI values with a reduction in low and average values among both genders. The maximum increase in the frequency of high BMI values was observed at the onset of the reduction of hormonal activities in the female body (40-49 years), and the frequency of low BMI values reduced significantly among females. After 50 years, relative stability was noted in the distribution of the frequencies of three BMI values with minor differences between genders. Differences in the percentage distribution of BMI values between urban and rural samples were observed only in females, and low values of BMI were more common in females from urban areas.

Salivon, I.
Marfina, O.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History,
The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus,
Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: belantrop@tut.by

The Impact of Migrations on the Anthropological Composition of the Belarus Population

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341011
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: migration, Belarusians, anthropological composition of the population, gene pool.

Abstract
Migrations have always played an important role in contributing to the anthropological composition of the population of Belarus.
In particular, three massive migration flows significantly enhanced the population’s genetic pool. The first occurred about 10 thousand years ago, and led to the initial colonization of the territory following the retreat of the glacier. Settlements started from that period and began from the Southwest, South and Southeast, according to a study conducted by Belarusian geneticists on the distribution of Y-chromosome haplogroups in 18 groups of Belarusian males, whose ancestors had lived for three generations at their specific locations (Davydenko & Kushnerevich, 2011). The second massive migration flow (in the second half of the 3rd century to the first half of the 2nd millennium BC), about 5000 years ago, resulted in the spread of the population from a Western European territory in the region of modern Belarus; allegedly an Indo-European community, and the founders of the Corded Ware (shnurovoj ceramics) culture. The subsequent Hatched Pottery (shtrikhovannoj ceramics) culture orginated in the 7th to 6th centuries BC in the territories of eastern Lithuania, northern and central Belarus, and was associated with Baltic-speaking populations. The third major flow of migrants were Slavic tribes, who penetrated the territory of Belarus from the Northwest, West, Southwest and South in the second half of the 1st millennium BC. In all three cases, interactions between the incoming settlers and the native populations resulted in hostilities and gradual cultural assimilation.
Marital ties between incoming settlers and the native population changed the composition of the gene pool of subsequent generations. The populations of cities were formed from influxes by rural populations and migrants from distant parts, and the genetic heterogeneity of the townspeople also increased. More recent temporary migration flows to the territory of Belarus have been associated with wars, which further contributed to the alteration of the gene pool of the local population.
Such losses were replenished by the influx of previously geographically distant groups. The intensification of migratory flows in present times has further changed the gene pool formed over many centuries, thereby improving the population’s adaptability to its environmental conditions.

Marfina, O.
Salivon, I.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History,
The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus,
Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: belantrop@tut.by

The Main Directions of Anthropological Research in Belarus

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2015341010
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: Belarus, directions of anthropological research, paleoanthropology, dermatoglyphics, odontology, genogeography.

Abstract
Anthropological studies in Belarus were initiated in the mid-1960s. These studies took several directions and encompassed: paleoanthropological studies, which examined the nature and direction of the epochal variations of the structural features of the skull, post-cranial skeleton and dentofacial system in the population of the territory of Belarus from the 10th-19th century; and modern population studies, examining ethnic aspects of dermatoglyphics, and odontologic characteristics of populations from different regions. A genogeographic study of the rural people of Belarus was also conducted, and an analysis of the demographic indicators that directly affected many aspects of the biological variation of the population. Moreover, the extent of this research expanded considerably. Studies covered social and cultural anthropology of aging (gender and age, and the territorial variability of the physical type of the adult population); auxology (the formation of body build during the process of growth, maturation of children’s bodies, patterns of variability in the physical development of children from 4 to 7 years of age, the physical development of infants, children, adolescents, and youth from 7-17 years of age); constitutional anthropology (constitutional morphogenesis); and functional anthropology (gender and age variability in the cardiorespiratory systems of schoolchildren). There were also environmental studies which revealed the impact of the environment on community health indicators.

Marfina, O.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History,
The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus,
Minsk, Belarus.
E-mail: belantrop@tut.by