A tall order: Small area mapping and modelling of adult height among Swiss male conscripts.

Panczak, Radoslaw; Moser, André; Held, Leonhard; Jones, Philip A; Rühli, Frank J; Staub, Kaspar (2017). A tall order: Small area mapping and modelling of adult height among Swiss male conscripts. Economics and Human Biology, 26, pp. 61-69. Elsevier 10.1016/j.ehb.2017.01.005

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Adult height reflects an individual's socio-economic background and offers insights into the well-being of populations. Height is linked to various health outcomes such as morbidity and mortality and has consequences on the societal level. The aim of this study was to describe small-area variation of height and associated factors among young men in Switzerland. Data from 175,916 conscripts (aged between 18.50 and 20.50 years) was collected between 2005 and 2011, which represented approximately 90% of the corresponding birth cohorts. These were analysed using Gaussian hierarchical models in a Bayesian framework to investigate the spatial pattern of mean height across postcodes. The models varied both in random effects and degree of adjustment (professional status, area-based socioeconomic position, and language region). We found a strong spatial structure for mean height across postcodes. The range of height differences between mean postcode level estimates was 3.40cm according to the best fitting model, with the shorter conscripts coming from the Italian and French speaking parts of Switzerland. There were positive socioeconomic gradients in height at both individual and area-based levels. Spatial patterns for height persisted after adjustment for individual factors, but not when language region was included. Socio-economic position and cultural/natural boundaries such as language borders and mountain passes are shaping patterns of height for Swiss conscripts. Small area mapping of height contributes to the understanding of its cofactors.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Geriatric Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Panczak, Radoslaw, Moser, André


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

13 Mar 2017 08:43

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:03

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Integrated Nested Laplace approximation; Spatial epidemiology; Spatial hierarchical; Bayesian analysis; Stature; Switzerland





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