Older and Wider

December 26, 2013 in STSMPT

It probably comes as no surprise that you are wider at the age of 40 or 60 than you are at the age of 20. What may surprise you is why.

A recent study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research shows that hip bones continue to grow with age – in both women and men. By age 20, most people have achieved their maximum height. But researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have now found that while people don’t grow taller after age 20, they do grow wider well into their 70s. This bone growth is not fueled simply by an increase in body fat, as was previously thought.

The researchers randomly selected 246 male and female patients in various age groups ranging from age 20 to age 79. Using CT scans, they determined that the width of the people’s pelvises continued to grow after skeletal maturity was reached at age 20. Specifically, the pelvic inlet widened–evidence of actual pelvic growth. On average, the pelvic width of the oldest people in the study was nearly 2.5 cm larger than the youngest patients. This one-inch increase in pelvic diameter could lead to an approximately 7.6 cm increase in waist size from age 20 to age 79.

Source: Berger A, May R, Renner J, Viradi N, Dahners L. Surprising evidence of pelvic growth (widening) after skeletal maturity. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 29 (11): 1719-1723.

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