Introduction: procedure was to calculate the Body Mass

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Introduction: procedure was to calculate the Body Mass

Introduction:

 

            Fat
mass, in both the underweight and overweight population, is known to have a
strong correlation with a variety of diseases. This data will allow researchers
to determine the association between percent body fat and things like risk of
cardiovascular disease. The understanding of how body fat affects health will
allow individuals to undergo steps necessary to fall into a healthy body fat
range. Body Mass Index is meant to measure the ratio between weight and height
for a general population, not an individual person. Measuring Body Mass Index
in this experiment was skewed, because the subjects were fit individuals in the
Kinesiology program. According to The American Journal of Physical Anthropology,
males develop more fat on the trunk and upper body as they age throughout
adulthood, whereas there are no significant changes in these data components
for females. It was also concluded that there is a correlation between
socioeconomic status and body fat in females. This same conclusion could not be
drawn for males and children of both sexes. The purpose of this experiment was
to obtain skinfold measurements in order to determine percent body fat in men
and women. Even though Body Mass Index does not directly measure fat percent,
it can be used to estimate how much fat the subject is carrying in their body.

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Methods:

            Subjects:

The two subjects
who participated in the experiment were undergraduate Kinesiology students from
UNCG between the ages of 19 and 22. The one male and one female subjects were
healthy and engaged in regular physical activity.

            Equipment:

Equipment required
included a weighing scale, a statiometer, and a Lange skinfold caliper.

           

Procedures:

The
first procedure was to calculate the Body Mass Index of the male and female
subjects. Each subject was weighed in kilograms using a weighing scale, and
then their heights were measured in centimeters using a statiometer. The
subjects were instructed to wear a tee shirt and shorts, and remove all pocket
contents, jewelry, and shoes. The researcher made sure to measure each
subject’s height at the top of the head, not at the top of the hair. In order
to calculate Body Mass Index, height in centimeters needed to be converted into
meters and then squared. The following step was to divide weight in kilograms
by height in meters squared.

In
the following procedure, the researcher took skinfold measurements from one
male and one female subject. The skinfold measurements were used to determine percent
body fat. The seven measurement locations on both subjects were the chest,
axilla, triceps, subscapular, abdominal, suprailiac, and thigh. There was also
a shorter version of the skinfold test that only uses three locations, which
are different for males and females. The three locations for all males were
chest, abdomen, and thigh, whereas the three locations for all females were the
triceps, suprailiac, and thigh. It was important that the researcher made sure
to only take measurements on the right side of the body. The human body is
rarely symmetrical, so taking measurements from one side of the body produces
more accurate results. In order to acquire an accurate measurement, the
researcher grasped the skinfold between the thumb and index finger of one hand
and held the Lange skinfold caliper in the other hand. It was critical that the
researcher continue to hold the skinfold while taking the measurement, because
the caliper was not strong enough to hold the skinfold alone.

The
chest measurement was taken by locating the region of skin between the anterior
axillary line and the nipple. For men, a diagonal fold was taken one-half the
distance between the anterior axillary line and the nipple. The same
measurement was taken for women, but instead of one-half the distance, it was
taken from one-third the distance. The measurement is different among males and
females, because women have mammary glands in the way that would skew these
data if it were to be measured in the same place as the men. The axilla
measurement was taken as a vertical fold at the mid-axillary line and in line
with the xiphoid process, which is the lowermost part of the sternum. It was
difficult to access this point on the body while the arm was in the way. To
solve this problem, the researcher instructed the subject the to move their arm
back to expose the region enough to take the skinfold measurement, trying to engage
as little muscle as possible. The next skinfold measurement was a vertical fold
at the triceps. The triceps are located on the posterior portion of the upper
arm, between the acromion and olecranon processes. The acromion process is the
pointed bone on uppermost part of the shoulder, and the olecranon process is
located at the elbow. A diagonal fold was then taken from the subscapular
region, 1-2 cm below the inferior scapular angle. This point was difficult to
find, so the researcher bent the subject’s arm behind their back, exposing the
inferior scapular angle. It was very important to inform the subject of this
action to avoid any possible injury. An abdominal measurement was taken
vertically, 2 cm to the right of the navel, followed by the diagonal suprailiac
fold taken above the iliac crest. The final skinfold measurement was taken on
the anterior region of the thigh. This fold was measured vertically and located
halfway between the patella and the inguinal ligament. The patella is also
known as the kneecap, and the inguinal ligament is in the crease between the
pelvis and the upper leg.

After
all measurements had been taken one time, the researcher took a second set of
measurements in the same order. It was important for the researcher to take the
measurements in the same order the second time so each region had some time to
heal before the second set of testing. This healing time was essential in order
to avoid swelling that could skew these data. Once both sets of measurements
had been taken, they were averaged together to provide a more accurate number.
If the second measurement had more than a 2 mm difference from the first, then
a third measurement had to be taken. After the two set of data had been
averaged, the researcher then added the seven skinfold averages together for a
final sum.

Discussion:

            The
purpose of this experiment was to acquire skinfold measurements in order to
determine percent body fat in men and women. While Body Mass Index can be used
to estimate how much fat the subjects are carrying in their bodies, it does not
directly measure fat percent. This experiment concluded that Body Mass Index is
not an accurate representation of body fat. According to Table 1, the female
subject had a Body Mass Index of 24.8 kg/m2, which was at the very end of the
normal range (18.5-24.9 kg/m2) and the male subject had a Body Mass Index of
25.9 kg/m2, which was in the overweight range (25.0-29.9 kg/m2). According the
male’s Body Mass Index, he was at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Although
the female was in the normal range, she was very close to being at an increased
risk as well.

Table 2
illustrated the differences between male and female measurements in the seven
locations. The male and female subjects both carried the most fat in thigh,
triceps, and abdominal regions. The male carried significantly more fat in the
chest and abdomen than the female, but the female carried a greater amount of
fat in the thigh region than the male subject did. The two subjects carried a
similar amount of fat in the subscapular and suprailiac regions. These data displayed
in Table 2 was used to calculate the two subjects’ body fat percentages. The
male subject had 16.3% body fat, which was classified as good (13.5-18%) and
the female subject was also classified as good (18.5-23%) with 19% body fat.

The female subject’s
classifications for Body Mass Index and body fat percent were more similar than
the male subject’s classifications. The female had a normal Body Mass Index and
a good body fat perfect, whereas the male had and overweight Body Mass Index
and a good body fat percent. Body Mass Index may be a method of estimating body
fat in a population, but this experiment showed that Body Mass Index is not a
good representation of body fat in an individual subject. This is because
calculating Body Mass Index does not take into account how much muscle mass the
subject has. The male subject had a lower body fat percent than the female, but
he was considered overweight in terms of Body Mass Index. Figure 1 showed that
both subjects had a very similar amount of fat mass, but the male subject had
18.94 kg more lean mass than the female subject, so his overall body fat
percent was lower. Based on Body Mass Index, it appeared as if the female was
healthier, but they both fell into the same body fat percent classification,
meaning that both subjects were at about the same level of fitness and health.   Nothing abnormal happened while collecting the
data for this experiment, but it was unexpected that the male’s Body Mass Index
was classified as overweight. It was expected that both subjects would fall
into the good body fat percent ranges, given their levels of physical fitness.
If the experiment had consisted of many more subjects with varying levels of
physical fitness, the researcher would have been able to compare Body Mass
Index and body fat percent for the group representing the population, as well
as the two individual subjects. This would have allowed the researcher to
collect data on whether or not Body Mass Index could be used to estimate body
fat for the population.

 

Conclusion:

            This
experiment was conducted to compare Body Mass Index and body fat percent
amongst a male and a female subject. After Body Mass Index was calculated, the
researcher performed a skinfold test on both subjects in seven different
locations. The sum of the skinfold measurements was used to calculate body fat
percent. It was concluded that even though an individual had a Body Mass Index
above normal, it did not necessarily mean that person had an unhealthy body fat
percent. The skinfold test also showed that males and females carried their
body weight in different places. The male’s skinfold total was 121.5 mm and the
female’s total was 56 mm of subcutaneous tissue, but the male subject had a
lower body fat percent. This was because he had significantly more lean mass
than the female. As far as the procedure went, there were no known errors. For
the most part, these data collected were expected. The only unexpected part of
the experiment was that the male had a Body Mass Index in the overweight range.
Both subjects were dressed appropriately and cooperated with the researcher.
These data collected may have been more accurate if there was more than one
person collecting the same data. If two or more researchers took turns
collecting the same data, the results could have been compared and assessed for
possible errors. 

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