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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992 Jul;24(7):832-7.

Body composition of healthy sedentary and trained, young and older men and women.

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Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110.


This study examined the effects of age and physical activity on body composition and fat distribution by comparing differences between young and older endurance trained men and women with differences between young and older sedentary people. Although indices of total body adiposity (fat mass, percent body fat) were higher in the older than in the young people in both the trained and the sedentary groups, the magnitude of the difference was markedly less in the trained group (P less than 0.01). The average differences in fat mass between young and old sedentary men and women were 10.1 kg and 12.2 kg, respectively, but only 4.3 kg and 5.5 kg in trained men and women. Skinfold thicknesses were approximately 24% and approximately 47% larger at all sites (triceps, thigh, subscapula, pectoralis, umbilicus, suprailiac) in the older than in the young trained men and women, respectively. Similar differences were found between young and older sedentary people except at central, upper body sites, where the relative differences in skinfold thicknesses between young and older sedentary people were 2- to 6-fold greater than in trained people. Thus, people who exercise regularly appear to accumulate less adipose tissue in upper, central body regions as they get older, potentially reducing the risk for the metabolic disorders associated with upper body obesity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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