View Full Version : Re: Reply- What does the word race really mean?

Thambyah, Ashvin
04-21-1998, 12:25 PM
> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Davey [SMTP:gdavey@uomhs.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 1998 7:51 AM
> Subject: Reply- What does the word race really mean?
> This note is my response to Mark Swanepoel's submission about the
> use of
> "Race" in biomechanical studies.
> I disagree with Mark, ...SNIP (edit)... If we shy away from this
> difference to
> acheive political correctness, then we may miss out on valuable data
> on
> how the environment affects human evolution and abilities over many
> thousands of years which cannot be recreated in a lab.
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[Thambyah, Ashvin]

Dear ALL:

political correctness is not the issue here, it is scientific
correctness that must be adhered to. Down below are bits of info on some
studies concerning race. We see that one study points out differences in
bone size between caucasians and asians. Another study points out that
asians growing up in the UK show similar patterns to the national
standard. And yet another study indicates that the trend of height and
weight in Singapore of 18 year-old males over the last 25 years indicate
that all Asian ethnic groups are generally growing taller and heavier.
The racial divide is unclear. Considerations for socio-economic
factors, diet, habits and practices make it difficult for scientists to
differentiate the groups simply by race.
To be scientifically correct we should divide our groups using
criteria that are RELEVANT & SUBSTANTIATED. Besides disease and
abnormalities, height and weight, a study on elderly persons gait could
further be divided into groups that are used to sitting on the toilet
versus groups that squat; rather than make the assumption that all
caucasians sit and all asians squat .

Best regards,
Ashvin Thambyah
Research Fellow
Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery
National University of SIngapore

Bone Miner Res 1996 Oct;11(10):1545-1556
Differences in bone mineral in young Asian and Caucasian Americans may
reflect differences in bone size.
Bhudhikanok GS, Wang MC, Eckert K, Matkin C, Marcus R, Bachrach LK
Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine,
California, USA.
We conclude that observed differences in bone mineral between Asians and
Caucasians may be partially attributed to
the smaller bone size of Asians.

Arch Dis Child 1997 Nov;77(5):401-405
Growth of Pakistani children in relation to the 1990 growth standards.
Kelly AM, Shaw NJ, Thomas AM, Pynsent PB, Baker DJ
City Hospital, Birmingham.
This study demonstrates that the growth of Pakistani schoolchildren in
the UK is comparable to the 1990 UK growth standards with only minor
differences. It is not safe to assume that short stature or low body
weight in a Pakistani child is due to his or her ethnic background.

Ann Acad Med Singapore 1994 Sep;23(5):770-774
Twenty-five years of national service--changes in height, weight and
body mass index.
Lim MK, Liam BL, Ng D, Teow R
Headquarters Medical Corps, Singapore Armed Forces.
The height and weight of 18-year-old Singapore National Service
enlistees were extracted from computer records spanning 25
years (1967-1991). These were analysed for mean height, weight and body
mass index (BMI) which overall show increases of
4.12 cm, 10.13 kg and 2.60 kg/m2 respectively. All ethnic groups
(Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others) show a similar rising
trend. While mean height appears to have stabilised in recent years,
mean weight continues to rise. This is reflected in an
increasing mean BMI. The proportion of 18-year-old male recruits with a
BMI in the overweight range (> or = 25 kg/m2)
increased from 1.37% in 1967 to 12.07% in 1991.

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