Clothing includes all types of garments worn by human beings such as shirts, blouses, skirts, trousers and gowns. World Book Encyclopedia (2001), has described clothing as the different garments worn by people throughout the world. According to Ezema (1996), Clothing is a basic human need and it is any article placed on the body in order to protect, beautify, or to adorn it.
Clothing are worn for the simple fact that they protect the body against weather conditions, beautify the body and communicate to others about the wearer. Esiowu and Igbo (2008), are of the opinion that individual clothing also tell others whether the wearer is conservative or daring, out-going or reserved, casual or organized, a leader or a follower, confident or unsure. Ahia (2001), has stated that beyond the use of cloths to protect the bare body, it serves as a means of group identification, gender stereotyping, ritual distinction and status symbolization and these other functions of clothes create serious religious, social and economic pressure which people of the world have to bear.
Shailong and Igbo (2009), have opined that besides protection, clothes act as means of personal communication by expressing the individual unique personalities for modesty and for attraction, easy identification and for social statues. And that proper Clothing is what differentiate man from other animals.
Clothing for men and women are made from fabrics. These can be achieved through the use of adapted patterns, commercial patterns or the use of free hand cutting. Adapted patterns are made from blocks. Blocks are achieved through the drafting of patterns using the actual measurement of the person concerned without ease. These blocks which are in five pieces are later used to adapted to any style of garment as desired for onward transfer to the fabric, then sewing can commence.
According to Ekumankama and Igbo (2009), a pattern is a piece of paper drafted and cut to size and shape which is used for sewing dresses. They went further to say that a designer uses a foundation pattern (block pattern) as a basis for making the pattern for a design (style pattern).
A lot of garments worn these days apart from ready-to-wear garments are made from free hand cutting. Free hand cutting is a method of cutting a style of a garment directly on the fabric without the use of a pattern. Shailong and Igbo (2009),described free hand cutting as a method of cutting the fabric marked with chalk based on the measurement and cut directly without the use of a paper pattern. However the measurement of the individual is utilized directly on the fabric in free hand cutting. While using the free hand cutting and there is a mistake, the fabric will be wasted.
Origin and History of Clothing
Knowledge of the origin of clothing remains inferential, since clothing materials deteriorate quickly compared to stone, bone, shell and metal artifacts, but some information has been inferred by studying lice. The body louse specifically lives in human clothing and when it diverged from head lice it can be inferred that clothing existed at that time. One study estimated that this happened between 83,000 to 170,000 years ago,( Charles, 2011)another estimates between 65,000 and 149,000 years ago (Ralf et al., 2003). Archeologists have identified very early sewing needles made of bone and ivory which were found near Kostyonki, Russiain 1988 and are dated to about 30,000 BC (Hoffecker, 2002). Dyed flax fibers that could have been used in clothing have been found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia that date back to 36,000BP (Balter, 2009).
Functions of Clothing
A primary function of clothing is to improve the comfort of the wearer by providing protection against the elements. Clothing provides protection from sunburn in warm weather, and protection from frostbite in cold weather. Shelter reduces the need for protective clothing. For example, coats, hats, gloves, and other superficial layers are normally removed when entering a warm home.
Clothes also reduce risk during activities such as work or sport. Some clothing protects from specific environmental hazards, such as insects, noxious chemicals, weather, weapons, and contact with abrasive substances.
Conversely, clothing may protect the environment from the clothing wearer, as with doctors wearing medical scrubs. Humans have shown extreme inventiveness in devising clothing solutions to environmental hazards. Examples include: space suits, air conditioned clothing, armor, diving suits, swimsuits, bee-keeper gear, motorcycle leathers, high-visibility clothing, and other pieces of protective clothing. Clothing also performs a range of social and cultural functions.
Clothing can be used to indicate social status and convey individual, occupational, and sexual differentiation.In many societies, norms about clothing reflect standards of modesty, religion, gender, and social status. They cover parts of the body that social norms require to be covered, act as a form of adornment, and provide an expression of personal taste and style.
Clothing has been made from a very wide variety of materials. Materials have ranged from leather and furs, to woven materials, to elaborate and exotic natural and synthetic fabrics. Not all body coverings are regarded as clothing. Articles carried rather than worn (such as purses), worn on a single part of the body and easily removed (scarves), worn purely for adornment (jewelry), or those that serve a function other than protection (eyeglasses), are normally considered accessories rather than clothing, as are footwear and hats.
The distinction between clothing and protective equipment is not always clear-cut, since clothes designed to be fashionable often have protective value and clothes designed for function often consider fashion in their design.
What is Eco-Fashion?
Eco-fashion is about making clothes that take into account the environment, the health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry. Eco-fashion clothes:
- Are made using organic raw materials, such as cotton grown without pesticides and silk made by worms fed on organic trees.
- Dont involve the use of harmful chemicals and bleaches to colour fabrics.
- Are often made from recycled and reused textiles. High-quality garments can be made from second-hand clothes and even recycled plastic bottles.
- Are made to last, so that people keep them for longer.
- Come from fair trade – the people who make them are paid a fair price and have decent working conditions.
With the eco-fashion industry still in its infancy, the main responsibility at the moment lies with clothes manufacturers and fashion designers, who need to start using sustainable materials and processes.
There are a variety of materials considered “environmentally-friendly” for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the re-new ability of the product. Renewable resources are items that can be replenished in a relatively short amount of time (as opposed to millennia).The second factor is the ecological footprint of the resource – how much land (usually measured in acres) it takes to bring one of the individuals (plants or animals) to full growth and support it.
The third thing to consider in determining the eco-friendliness of a particular product is how many chemicals it requires to grow/process it to make it ready for market.
Fabrics considered in this list include organic cotton, Organic silk, Organic wool, soy silk, Milk-silk, Pine apple fabrics, Hemp, Peat, Fortrel eco-spun tm, Ingeo tm corn fibre, bamboo, Recycled fabrics from recycled fibre.Fabrics not currently in this list include: linen, silk, kenaf, and switchgrass, but theyare forthcoming.
Environmental Effects of clothing
Natural fibres have their problems, too: Cotton is the most pesticide intensive crop in the world: these pesticides injure and kill many people every year. It also takes up a large proportion of agricultural land, much of which is needed by local people to grow their own food. Herbicides, and also the chemical defoliants which are sometimes used to aid mechanical cotton harvesting, add to the toll on both the environment and human health.
These chemicals typically remain in the fabric after finishing, and are released during the lifetime of the garments. The development of genetically modified cotton adds environmental problems at another level. Growing cotton uses 22.5 percent of all the insecticides used globally? Growing enough cotton for one t-shirt requires 257 gallons of water. On top of that, bleaching and then dyeing the resulting fabric creates toxins that flow into our ecosystem.
First of all, the cotton must be grown; this entails vast amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that pollute and deplete the soil. Despite mechanized harvesting, the cotton industry is still largely dependent on cheap labour. The raw cotton is then dyed, meaning chemicals and heavy metals with harmful effects on the environment. Finally bands of cotton are assembled in factories to be sown into a T-shirt. From wastewater emissions to air pollution and energy consumption, the textile industry weighs heavily on the environment. Wool pollution: both agricultural and craft workers in the UK suffer from exposure to organophosphate sheep dip problem. Getting from fibre to cloth – bleaching, dyeing, and finishing – uses yet more energy and water, and causes yet more pollution. Nylon and polyester- made from petrochemicals, these synthetics are also non-biodegradable, and so they are inherently unsustainable on two counts. Nylon manufacture creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Making polyester uses large amounts of water for cooling, along with lubricants which can become a source of contamination. Both processes are also very energy-hungry. Rayon(viscose), another artificial fibre, is made from wood pulp, which on the face of it seems more sustainable. However, old growth forest is often cleared and/or subsistence farmers are displaced to make way for pulpwood plantations. Often the tree planted is eucalyptus, which draws up phenomenal amounts of water, causing problems in sensitive regions.
To make rayon, the wood pulp is treated with hazardous chemicals such as caustic soda and sulphuric acid. The use of rayon for clothing is contributing to the rapid depletion of the world’s forests. Petroleum-based products are detrimental to the environment on many levels.
Negative Effects of Choice of Clothing by Female Undergraduates
Dressing have lost most of its values in this age of unisex and gender cross over. Certain styles of dressing are regarded by many as a serious treat to cultural values of a society. Doubtlessly, in Nigeria, certain dressing styles/codes are alien. Some forms of indecent dressing are a product of modelling top movie stars. Sometimes, these movie stars dress to complement the parts they play in a movie. The trend in both local and foreign movies in terms of fashion has turned to be a model for many youths in Nigeria.
This has constituted a meme among a greater proportion of Nigerian youths. From the religious perspective, people are expected to dress modesty especially the women. This is to avoid attracting unnecessary attention which in turn arouses sexual urge from other people. Before the fall of Adam, man (referring to both male and female) was ignorant of his nakedness. The awareness of this secret placed man in a position of seeing the need to covering the vital sensitive parts of their body.
Women should not expose their vital parts by wearing short skirts, sleeveless clothes and transparent wears and so on. Sexual harassment can be caused by indiscriminate behaviour including having multiple sex partners. Indecent dressing can be used to gratify internal sexual pressure that is present within individuals. It is also related to sexual harassment, accusation and rape. Whether in private or public places, code of dressing tends to give a perception of one’s ability to preserve specific heritage and social values in the midst of modern civilization and technology. Over restriction of sexual desire may ignite more indecent dressing and ugly sexual behaviour where it creates more chances of using transparent clothes which make women more prone to sexual harassment because it can provoke the sexual desire of the opposite sex.
THEORIES OF INDECENT DRESSING
There are theories that explain the concept and relationship between indecent dressing and sexual harassment. The following theories fall into two groups that deal with indecent dressing and sexual harassment. An attempt to explain the dimensions of indecent dressing, researchers, came up with the down theory, reductionism (biological) theory and psychosocial or self-efficacy theory.
The Down Theory (Theory of Sexy Dressing): The more commonly cited approach in the study of sexy or seductive dressing is the psycho-analytic model of down theory. The name of this theory comes from a Greek female legend “ELECTRA”. She dreamt that all the end downs were crying at a grave. The downs at the grave were crying over the death of one of the downs who was Electra’s sister. Electra’s dream about her sister’s death made her develop hatred for her sister because her sister received more attention from others than she did. Electra may have at a conscious state take delight in her sister death.
Dressing to attract attention invariably leads undergraduates mostly the female gender to wear “funny” or “indecent” cloths that are seductive and revealing. Giving the opposite sex the impression of their readiness and availability for exploitation.
Biological (Sexual Selection) Theory: Reference of dominant looking man by the female as the near evaluate because of high testosterone level indicates strong genus.
Studies that support this theory shows that male dominance increases when female is more fertilized. The expression of this fertility is shown in seductive and revealing dresses. This theory reveals that the frequency in wearing revealing and seductive dressing change over the menstrual circle days girls wear revealing clothes when they are fertile but the menstrual circle doesn’t affect the way of dressing. The levels of those chemical messengers were much higher in those girls that preferred seductive and revealing dresses. Neutrophines are passionate love hormones and also the male, sex humorous testosterone was found to increase in love struck girls found wearing revealing and seductive dresses.
The love hormones (neutrophines) was replaced by the what is called cuddle hormone “Oxyrocin” when girls start wearing decent cloths. Girls with higher level of oestrogen are more attractive, they have prettier faces and more prominent body features. Estrogen during pukery can have, impact on appearance by affecting the tone, growth and skin texture.
Psycho Social Theory (Theory of Efficacy): This theory is pioneered by the works of Bandura (1993, 1996 and 1997) who defines self confidence as the ability to recognize and execute the causes of a given course of action to solve a problem or accomplish a task. Thus some people have a stronger sense of self efficacy while others don’t.
Furthermore some have efficacy belief that encompasses many narrow efficacy beliefs and some belief that they are efficacies only in easier task. Bandura’s self efficacy theory focuses on expectancies of success; however Bandura distinguished between two kinds of expectancy beliefs; outcome expectations belief that certain behaviours will lead to certain outcomes such as the belief that revealing clothes and dresses will attract potential suitors using this theory, we found that contrary to general belief, girls who wear revealing and seductive dresses have low self-efficacy, trading themselves as cheap. They lack the confidence in the fact that attracting a male counterpart, they would be sufficiently satisfied with these efficacy expectations. According to Bandura they are four major determinants of goal setting behaviour: choice, motives, willingness to expect effort and persistence of the behaviour.
Furthermore, self efficacy also helps to determine how resistant these girls will be in the face of societal oppositions to their seductive dressing. These girls have also been found to have greater intrusive interest in indecent dressing and deep engrossment in their pervasive fantasies. They set challenges and bold goals and maintain strong commitment to them Mashegoene and colleagues also found that conversely girls with low self-efficacy also have low self esteem and intelligent quotient.
Theory of Risky Sexual Harassment: There are various theoretical models that explain the origin, symptom consequences of sexual harassment. The following theories tend to explain sexual harassment. Three fold theory, exchange theory, belief theory reasoned action theory and self efficiency theory they found focus on the effect of situational beliefs and cognitive aspects of sexual harassment on individual chances.
Researchers have found that global determinants can probably account for the reason individuals with high HIV/AIDS knowledge, continue to engage in sexual harassment. To correct for the limitations of the individual choice hypothesis a contextual analysis has been proposed emphasizing structural constraints to rational choice. According to this approach, sexual harassment must not be attributed to intrapsychic and personality factors alone. Hence base on the conclusions of the recent findings, this study has adopted the current theory explaining Sexual Sensation Seeking (SSS) models.
Impact of Clothing to Undergraduate Female Students
It is the basic desire of every human being to look decent and present able with what he or she wears. In Nigeria today, the old and especially the young ones are fashion enthusiasts. Whatever we decide to wear at every occasion is greatly shaped by fashion. With the inception of western civilization, which brought in beauty pageants, promo and advertisements of all sorts, fashion and modeling, foreign, musical and pornographic films et cetera, indecent dressing has become fashionable. There is no respect for our culture any longer; most people are now blind to the fashion in vogue, such that they have become slaves to the fashion world. The importance of what we wear, cannot be over-emphasized. The dresses we wear have their own advantages and disadvantages on our personality. Most dresses come with different styles, some help to enhance one’s appearance, and beef up one’s confidence anywhere she goes. When you are elegantly dressed, it helps to minimize some physical flaws in the structure of the person and also enhances your positive features and personality in the homes, schools and in the community. In the past, our cultural norms and societal values were greatly upheld. The ways of dressing by our different ethnic groups were well laid out to achieve their set objectives. Our moral cultural belief is all embracing, such as in areas of dressing in burials and marriage ceremonies et cetera, the dresses have decent outlooks to suit each occasion when it arises. Let us look at what is indecent dressing. Indecent dressing means an improper or unacceptable way of dressing in the society that is exhibiting the areas of the body that should be covered with clothes, for example the thighs, sexual areas, belly, buttocks, breasts et cetera. The level of indecent dressing particularly among the female members of the society has become a negative trademark. Dressing in extremely shocking dresses without caution, give wrong impression about the person putting then on, these type of ridiculous dresses make the person look shamelessly and immorally inhuman, which brings with them, promiscuity into the society. Unarguably, some of the dressings veer towards semi-nudity, freedom to dress has now become freedom to be half-naked; this can only be regarded as public nuisance and physical assault. A visit to any of the campuses would leave many aghast at what they would find and see. The craze to dress to kill is a common feature in the campuses, their common dress code is called, “bare-as-you-dare”. It is free show of “bums”, “boobs” et cetera. Lamentably, what does it really profit our womenfolk to dress exposing the sensitive parts of their bodies? Gone are the days when moderation was the watchword of students, particularly the female ones in our nation’s institutions of higher learning; gone are the days when womenfolk made efforts to conceal the sensual parts of their bodies. The wearing of indecent dresses has become a culture and indeed in vogue especially in the University campuses. Listen to the comments of the students, “Please leave us alone, this is what is in vogue, it is the ultimate”. These modes of dressing are an eyesore and it is unthinkable that they are taken for granted. The University, which is supposed to be a citadel of learning, charged with the responsibility of training in both academics, morals and character has become a theatre of the absurd, where anything goes and scandalous behaviour has become the order of the day. It is a horrible sight to bear and to see our young ladies parading the streets and campuses in assorted seductive dresses exposing the sensual parts of their bodies. In the campuses, you are hit with a spectacle of these dresses, it is endless. These dresses that are madly worn by these students are called flirty dresses, backless tops resting on trousers, ridiculously short skirts that barely cover the essentials of womanhood, also in the fray is hipster trousers designed to reveal a flat tummy and all the woman cleavages, suffocating tight jeans that barely cover the hips and thighs, see through that clearly reveals the anatomy, body hugs, skimpy tops, frontless hot pants, et cetera. These dresses are so revealing when they are worn, so that the flowing symbol of purity, modesty hasbeen thrown over board. In recent times, the womenfolk have thrown caution to the wind when it comes to what some of them wear and their life styles, they have forgotten that their bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. They flaunt their God-given endowment in a waythat is shameful, disgraceful and disrespectful. Suffice me to say, that what is happening in our institutions is a clear reflection of the breakdown of morality in the larger society.
In the recent edition of the Newswatch Magazine, Ray Ekpu criedaloud, “Wrapped Values (especially immodest dressing) have penetrated our ivory towers, turning them into a Tower of Babel”. The fever is indeed catching on, in a situation where a lady dresses outrageously instead of having an appealing look, her elegant look would be marred, and whatever respect she tried to build for herself for years would be jeopardised. What do we do as parents to curb these ugly trends in the campuses and the society at large? What kind of mothers do we pretend to be if we fold our hands to watch these ugly trends? You will agree with me that the society is sinking into the abyss of immorality. The most disturbing aspect of it all is the clear fact that the students refuse to accept the devastating effects of wearing the indecent dresses which expose them to object of carnal desires e.g. rape, prostitution, HIV Aids, Sexually Transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies which could lead to abortion and eventually sudden death. The student who puts on flirty dresses would face continuous sexual harassment inside and outside the campus. Some students wear it purposely to attract their lectures for favours because they are lazy students and have no time to read, that is they go about wearing these dresses to lectures to attract their lecturers for sex and marks. In such a situation what becomes of our higher educational system? If students seduce the lecturers with flirty outfits, what will the lecturers do? He would react because, “he is not a stone”. It is advisable for students to wear decent dresses to lectures so as to avoid sexual harassment or rape. Freedom to dress is not freedom to be half-naked; all hands must be on deck to proffer lasting solutions to this ugly trend. Many have watched with dismay, this ugly trend in the society. The authorities of some of the Universities are ostensibly disturbed about this vicious wind that is eroding the moral fabric of the nation’s citadel of learning.
However, some stakeholders have gone an extra mile to curb this ugly trend. It is highly commendable that other agencies have also taken up arms against this mad trend of indecent dressing in the society. The Vice-Chancellors of the Universities of Lagos, Jos and Covenant et cetera, the Churches, Students’ organizations, NGOs, PTAs, Provosts, Principals et cetera have played very Important roles to ensure that this ugly trend is curbed completely. The Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, months back directed the lecturers to send out students indecently and provocatively dressed, out of the lecture halls, this was strictly implemented and the male students were not left out. The University of Jos and Covenant University have taken the same measure in this regard. The students are now very apprehensive of these measures; there is an improvement inthis mad craze of indecent dresses in the campuses but not completely. Other Universities should follow suit because freedom of dressing does not make us loseour senses to become public nuisance in the campuses.
The former Federal Minister of Education, Mrs. Chinwe Obaji during her tenure, directed the Governing Council of Polytechnics, Colleges of Education et cetera to prescribe dress code for students but the bone of contention on this dress code is the legality of such proscriptions for adults. Students are free to wear whatever they like. It is also argued that setting any dress code for students is the violation of the fundamental human rights and expression. It is interesting to note that more people worldwide are equally concerned about dress codes, but these dress codes hurricane are not accepted unchallenged. The Minister of Education has taken the right step in the right direction because the educational sector is expected to demonstrate dress codes that are acceptable by the society. The dress codes if properly implemented would help to enhance self-respect; they would help to maintain classroom decorum, healthy living and neatness. They discourage peer groups above all fromluring others into buying extravagant provocative dresses or prostituting to get money for such dresses. If policies are made on dress code in the nation’s institutions, they must be monitored and implemented because the society looks on the educational sector as the citadel of learning and not citadel of immoral and indecent dressings. Although, it is not easy to implement such rules, some students would flout them but those from well-disciplined homes would obey such rules. In the society, we have stakeholders, who cherish and support modesty. We need a high level of decency in the institutions because the students we are nurturing today could be leaders of tomorrow and must be role models. Other means on how these indecent dressings could be curbed is by organizing massive enlightenment campaigns; workshops and seminars to enable them sensitize the students on the importance of dressing decently. It is advisable for the Federal Minister of Education to prepare a work plan on how best to integrate the proper mode of dressing and dress code for the students into the school curriculum starting from the Nursery to Primary and Secondary to the University level. This must be strictly monitored and implemented to the core. It is worthy to note that most students in the higher institutions are also irked by the untoward development of indecent dressing in the campuses.
In the University of Lagos, the Students Activists Forum (SAF) was inaugurated purposely to fight these ugly trends of indecent dressing; they campaigned against it and the decadence in the educational system, perpetrated by some of the lousy female students who attract their lecturers with flirty dresses for gratification so as to boost their grades during assessments, quiz or examinations. This group of students (SAF) should be commended for this achievement, I am very proud of them and others should join hands to salvage their fellow students. SAF, more grease to your elbows. Mothers at all times should diligently nurture, discipline, re-orientate and admonish them with Christian lifestyles and activities. They would be happy to grow into responsible adults who will remain a source of happiness to their parents, families, the university authorities and the entire society (Ukponu, 2013).
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