The bodily growth and development are always based on multifactorial influence, as a result of coexisting either genetic, social and/or economical issues. Among them one of the most important is the
regular physical activity, generating favourable changes and supporting the spontaneous growth process. To learn more about the stage/level of the growth and development could help in planning of
adequate workload and in evaluating the performance of young athletes.
In our present report the physique of handball player young girls was studied (N=118). Their calendar age ranged between 10 to 15 years. By their menarcheal status they were classified into
pre-menarcheal (prepubertal, n1=70) and postmenarcheal (pubertal, n2=48) groups. Menarcheal age was calculated by retrospective data.
For characterising the physique altogether 24 body dimensions were measured by the suggestions of the International Biological Programme. The body hight and body mass, width-, circumference- and
skinfold measurements were taken. Among the calculated parameters metric and plastic indices of Conrad’s growth type, somatotype components (endomorphy, mesomorphy, ectomorphy) were used to describe
the physique. Body composition was assessed by the Drinkwater and Ross body fractionation technique and body fat content was also estimated. Biological age was calculated by the morphological age
Basic statistics, interrelationships and Student t-test were used by Statistica Statsoft Version 12 computer programme. Differences of the respective subgroup means were tested by Tukey's post-hoc
tests at the level of 5% random error.
The mean menarcheal age of the pubertal group was 11,86 yrs, significantly lower than that of the Hungarian reference value (12,79 yrs), and lower than that of the athletic girls, in general. By this
fact, pubertal girls of the sample seemed to belong to the early maturers. Even estimated biological age of the prepubertal girls were somewhat ahead of their calendar age.
Prepubertal girls proved to be more linear with a less developed muscle-bone system, though they had even higher mean values when compared to that of the non-athletic reference values. The skinfold
thicknesses in prepubertal girls were consequently lower than in pubertal ones. The non-significant difference - within one percent body fat- could be owned to the high variability within the sample.
Based on the status of the secondary sex characteristics numerous girls were presumably near to their menarche so that the obvious, potential difference in body measurements and in their developmental
level of the subgroups could not be actually manifested. In a larger sample of athletic girls we could gain even more precise information on the real bodily differences through the developmental
process, in respect of the pubertal status.