Secular trends in body height in Balkan populations from 1945 to 1995

  • Nermin Sarajlić
  • Emina Resić
  • Anisa Gradaščević
  • Adis Salihbegović
  • Jože Balažic
  • Tomaž Zupanc
Keywords: Skeletonized remains, long bone lengths, mass grave, secular trend, Balkan populations


The aim of this study was to look for any secular trend in the stature of Balkan populations from the time of World War II (1939–1945) to the Balkans War (1991–1995). The research was based on the examination of exhumed skeletons of 202 men killed in World War II in the area of the Republic of Slovenia, and 243 men killed in the Bosnian War in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The length measurements of the right and left humerus, femur, tibia and fibula were taken. Since the results revealed no significant differences and the left-sided bones were more complete and recurrent in the sample, the bones of the left side were used in the analysis. Since the increase in height depends mostly on the increase in length of the long bones, with an average absolute change of about 0.28 cm for humerus, 0.55 cm for femur, 0.49 cm for tibia and 0.20 cm for fibula per decade in our case, these results suggest a significant increase of the height of the Balkans population. The difference of the sum of the average femur and tibia length for the study period was 4.13 cm. Recalculated average length increase of the sum length of femur and tibia per decade was 0.88 cm for the left side. Our study revealed that there was a trend towards increased long bone lengths, at least in the male population analyzed. 


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How to Cite
Sarajlić N, Resić E, Gradaščević A, Salihbegović A, Balažic J, Zupanc T. Secular trends in body height in Balkan populations from 1945 to 1995. Bosn J of Basic Med Sci [Internet]. 2014Nov.14 [cited 2019May24];14(4):209-13. Available from: