Mithu Bhadra1, Ashish Mukhopadhyay2, Raja Chakraborty1, Kaushik Bose3, Slawomir Koziel4, Stanley Ulijaszek5
1Department of Anthropology, Dinabandhu Mahavidyalaya, Bongaon, West Bengal, India.
2Acharya Prafulla Chandra College, New Barrackpore, West Bengal, India.
3Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, India.
4Institute of Anthropology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland.
5Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Background: Menarche seems be related to the relative distribution rather than the total amount of body fat. Previous studies showed that the ratio between lower-body vs. upper-body fat was associated with the timing of menarche. Aim: To compare the relative distribution of subcutaneous fat among Bengali Hindu pre- and post-menarcheal girls. Materials and Methods: The participants were 234 Bengali Hindu girls aged 11-14 years: 111 pre-menarcheal and 123 post-menarcheal girls, randomly selected from a secondary school from a suburb of Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Triceps, abdominal, sub-scapular, and calf skinfolds were measured. For each skinfold site, ratio was calculated as follows: Log (one skinfold/sum of skinfolds). Principal components (PC) analysis was performed to derive components which express the maximum contrast among the log of ratios. T-test was employed to assess differences between individual scores of components between pre- and post-menarcheal girls. Results: The three identified PC suggested extremities-trunk, lower trunk-upper trunk, and an upper extremity-lower extremity contrasts, respectively. Scores for second and third components showed significant differences between pre- and post-menarcheal groups of girls. Conclusion: The attainment of menarche by Bengali girls aged 11-14 years was associated with characteristically more relative subcutaneous fat distribution in the upper trunk and in the lower limbs, in contrast to lower trunk and upper limbs, respectively.
Keywords: India, menarche, regional adiposity, West Bengal.