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Determination Of Stature From Arm Span Among Students Of Benue State University

1.0     Background of the study

The measurement of stature is important in many settings. Stature measurement is required for the evaluation of children’s growth, calculation of nutritional indices of children and adults, prediction and standardization of physiological variables such as lung volumes (Golshan, Crapo, Amra, Jensen, & Golshan, 2007), muscle strength, glomerular filtration, metabolic rate, and for the tailoring of drug dosage in patients (Zverev, 2003). However, in some cases the accurate stature cannot be determined directly because of deformities of the limbs or in patients who have undergone amputations. Measuring stature can also be difficult in physically and mentally frail nursing home patients, e.g. patients that are wheelchair-bound or bedridden and those with osteoporosis, sequelae after hip fractures, or stroke. In such situations, an estimate of stature has to be derived from other reliable anthropometric indicators. These estimations help in predicting age-related loss in stature, identifying individuals with disproportionate growth abnormalities and skeletal dysplasia or stature loss during surgical procedures on the spine. These measurements have also found application in normalizing pulmonary function in scoliosis (Golshan, et al., 2007). It could also be utilized in sport settings in estimating the stature of wheelchair athletes or other sports individuals with disabilities involving amputation of a leg, or other deformities. Additionally, in many older people it is difficult, if not impossible, to measure standing stature accurately because of mobility problems and kyphosis (Hickson & Frost, 2003). Therefore, measurements of other body segments like arm span (Hickson & Frost, 2003; Jalzem & Gledhill, 1993; Yun, et al., 1995; Mohanty, Babu, & Nair, 2001), demi-span (Hickson & Frost, 2003; Weinbrenner, Vioque, Barber & Asensio, 2006), knee height (Hickson & Frost, 2003; Neruda, 2004), skull (Bidmos & Asala, 2005; Bidmos, 2006), scapula (Campobasso, Di-Vella, & Introna, 1998) and vertebral column length (Nagesh & Pradeep, 2006) can be used as an alternative to estimate standing stature.

Several studies have reported the effectiveness of using various body variables in estimating stature (Jalzem & Gledhill, 1993; Yun, et al., 1995; Mohanty, Babu, & Nair, 2001; Hickson & Frost, 2003) and arm span was found to be the most reliable. However, correlations between arm span and stature have been shown to vary in different ethnic groups (Steele & Chenier, 1990; Reeves, Varakamin, & Henry, 1996; Brown, Feng, & Knapp, 2002). Even though several studies of this nature are available on western populations, hardly has such a study been reported for Nigerian students. Therefore the purpose of this study was to determine the stature of students from arm span in Benue state University.

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