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J Forensic Sci. 1988 Jan;33(1):126-36.

Estimating actual height in the older individual.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson.


The widely used formulas for estimating adult stature require modification of the estimated height to account for the effects of age. The recording of measured and reported height in a living older population from southern Arizona, in conjunction with bone mineralization monitoring, provides an opportunity to test the currently used correction factor. Loss of height appears to commence around the age of 45, and the average rate of loss is relatively rapid at 0.16 cm per year. The correction factor suggested by this study is 0.16(age--45), subtracted from the maximum height. The loss is also affected by the maximum height of the individual. In cases of low bone mineralization, the increased incidence of vertebral crush fractures may cause further reductions in standing height. The low rate of recognition of height changes among the older community lowers the usefulness of the age adjusted height estimate. It is recommended that both the maximum and age adjusted heights be provided in forensic science reports to aid in matching with missing person reports.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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