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Body Fat Percentage and Physical Fitness in Adolescents: 2213Board #126 June 1 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Caputo, Jennifer L.; Eveland-Sayers, Brandi M.; Farley, Richard S.; Evans, Gina S.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 5 - p S399
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000274572.46615.e1
E-27 Free Communication/Poster - Pediatric Exercise Physiology: JUNE 1,2007 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM ROOM: Hall E

Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.

(Sponsor: Don Morgan, FACSM)

Funded by the MTSU Public Service Committee

Excess body fat and low physical fitness negatively impact health. Because the percentage of children who are overweight or obese continues to rise, understanding how excess adiposity is related to other components of health-related physical fitness in adolescents is important.

PURPOSE: To determine if percentage of body fat varied among adolescents who achieved 1, 2, 3, or 4 Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) classifications on tests of muscular fitness, flexibility, and aerobic capacity on the Fitnessgram.

METHODS: The curl-up, the modified pull-up, the back-saver sit and reach, and the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) from the Fitnessgram test battery were completed by 250 7th-12th grade students (145 males, 105 females). Percent body fat was determined from triceps and calf skinfolds. Students were classified according to the number of HFZs achieved based on Fitnessgram criteria.

RESULTS: Youth who achieved 1 HFZ had a higher percentage of body fat (32.2%, p < .05) than youth who achieved 2 (26.3%), 3 (22.2%), and 4 (19.8%) HFZs (p < .001). Adolescents who attained 2 HFZs had greater adiposity compared to adolescents who attained 3 (p < .05) and 4 (p < .001) HFZs. With respect to sex differences, boys who achieved 1 (28.8%) and 2 (25.2%) HFZs had more body fat than did boys who achieved 3 (18.9%) and 4 (15.1%) HFZs (p < .01). Girls achieving 1 (39.0%) HFZ had a higher percentage of body fat than girls achieving 2 (29.0%), 3 (27.1%), and 4 (23.8%) HFZs (p < .01). Girls who met the criteria for 2 HFZs also had more body fat than girls who met the criteria for 4 HFZs (p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, adolescents with a higher percentage of body fat did not reach as many HFZ classifications as those with lower percentages of body fat. This relationship was consistent for the full sample, as well as for boys and girls. These findings support the importance of monitoring body fat levels in adolescence and may facilitate the development of programs targeting childhood obesity as a means of improving health-related physical fitness.

© 2007 American College of Sports Medicine