THE SECULAR TREND IN BIOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL CONTEXT OF LIFE STYLE AND SOCIAL WELL-BEING

Esther REBATO

Abstract


Abstract: The name “secular” in various acceptations, it means “which succeeds or repeats itself each century, which is existing during one century or that exists since different centuries”, finds its origin, initially, as Latin adjective in, seccularis, which has later been transformed to a name, saecculum, indicating one generation, one century and in definitive a large period of time (Tobias, 1985). A secular change is indicating “something” which is taking place slowly, but in a constant way during time, in contrast with a periodic or a short time change, for instance. In Physical Anthropology, the term secular trend has been applied to a clear tendency, observed during the last 100 - 200 years, of earlier occurring both physical development and maturation. This tendency is essentially observed in two main ways: a) in stature and weight, children of the same age are gradually higher and heavier than in the past; b) the puberty, especially the pubertal growth spurt and the menarche, occurs progressively at earlier ages. It also means that many populations have experimented increases of the average adult stature and of other body dimensions.

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