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September 12, 1966

Physical Activity and Body Composition of Adolescent Boys

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

JAMA. 1966;197(11):891-893. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110110115026

Because physical activity has a profound effect on body composition and since this statement is popular knowledge, one might expect to find numerous scientific studies of the changes which occur in body composition under the influence of physical regimen. However, an intensive search through the literature has revealed few studies on this topic, and these few have had almost exclusively adult men as subjects. As background for this examination of adolescents and the effect of physical activity on body composition, the studies involving adult subjects will be summarized.

Anthropometrical and skinfold appraisal of increased musculature or decreased subcutaneous fat tissues under the influence of various physical activities were reported by Tanner1 and Thompson et al.2 Densitometry was used by Behnke et al,3 who were the first to point out, in their study of specific gravity of football players, that it may be erroneous to regard an individual