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Socio-economic status and menarcheal age in urban african schoolgirls in the western cape, South Africa

By Andre L. Travill, Richard Madsen, Noel Cameron and Han C. Kemper


The impact of different socio-economic levels, height, weight and sum of four skinfolds on the menarcheal age of 302 Black, South African school girls ranging in age from 8 to 17 years was researched. Socioeconomic status was obtained by means of a questionnaire that focused on the education, income, and occupations of the parents of the participants and the accommodation in which they were reared. Menarcheal age was obtained by means of a questionnaire. When restricted to those girls who had reached menarche, the mean age was found to be 14.34 years (SD=0.93). The application of survival analysis revealed an estimated median age of 14.25 years with a 95% confidence interval estimate of 14.08 and 14.58. Based on the log-rank statistic, significant differences were found in the survival curves of the different SES categories (p=0.0098). It was found that lower SES corresponded to curves having longer survival times, i.e. later ages of menarche. Differences were found in weight (p=0.037) and in height (p=0.0042), but no difference in SUM4 (p=0.44), between girls who have reached menarche and those who have not.DHE

Topics: Socio-economic status, Menarcheal age, South Africa, School girls, Western Cape, Urban
Publisher: University of Stellenbosch
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.4314/sajrs.v30i1.25986
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