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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1994 Oct;18(10):670-8.

Size, fatness and relative fat distribution of males of contrasting maturity status during adolescence and as adults.

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  • 1Center for Physical Development Research, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, K.U. Leuven, Belgium.


The somatic characteristics of boys of contrasting biological maturity status during adolescence are compared from 13-18 years and at 30 years of age. Within the mixed longitudinal Leuven Growth Study of Belgian Boys, 173 boys were followed annually from 13-18 years and were subsequently measured at 30 years of age. Age at peak height velocity (PHV) was estimated for 149 boys and the sample was then divided into three contrasting maturity categories based on the age at PHV: early (PHV < 13.37 years), average (PHV between 13.85 and 14.80 years) and late (PHV > 15.27 years) maturers. Using ANOVA for repeated measures and one-way ANOVA, differences in 18 somatic dimensions and five ratios of body proportions and subcutaneous fat distribution among the three maturity groups were tested from 13-18 years and at 30 years of age. There are consistent differences among boys of contrasting breadths, circumferences,and skinfolds on the trunk. There are no differences in skinfolds on the extremities. None of the differences in somatic dimensions and ratios among the three contrasting maturity groups are significant at 30 years of age except those for subscapular skinfold and the trunk/extremity skinfold ratio. Thus, during adolescence and in adulthood, late maturing boys have a distribution of subcutaneous fat that is associated with lower risk for several adult degenerative diseases.

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