Does an early rural life influence selected health-related parameters of female university students?
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Department of Anthropology, Institute of Zoology and Biomedical Research, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
Department of Human Biology, University of Wroclaw, Poland
Department of Anatomy, University of Physical Education, Krakow, Poland
Department for the Prevention of Alimentary Tract Diseases, Institute of Nursing and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland
Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Lodz, Poland
Department of Anatomy, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland
The aim of the study was to define whether in a group of young women the place of residence in their childhood and adolescence, as well as moving from a rural to an urban area, have affected their biological condition.

Material and methods:
The data were obtained from 1,305 unmarried and childless women aged 18–25. The respondents were university students. Each person’s height, weight and waist circumference were measured, and the BMI, WHR, and WHtR indices were calculated. A survey was used to collect data on the females’ socio-economic status, their health condition and course of menstruation cycle.

In the whole sample, apart from WHR, there was no significant difference in anthropometric characteristics depending on the urbanization degree of the place of residence before commencing studies. In comparing the two groups of women, changing place of residence from a village to a city and from a city to another city, more differences were visible. Women of rural origin presented significantly higher values of BMI, waist circumference and WHtR than those from the city. They were also more frequently characterized by overweight and abdominal obesity. The women from other cities were characterized by underweight and too low amount of abdominal adipose tissue. Health problems were found in both groups. Students of rural origin more rarely declared changes in body weight and health condition after beginning studies. Students of urban origin were more often affected by sleeping problems and spine pains.

The results of the study do not indicate that a change of place of residence has a stronger effect on the biological condition of rural women than their urban peers.

Iwona Wronka   
Department of Anthropology, Institute of Zoology and Biomedical Research, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland, ul. Gronostajowa 9, 30-087 Kraków, Poland
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