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Sept 9, 1968

Body Composition and Physiologic Function of Athletes

Author Affiliations

From the sections of clinical pathology (Dr. Novak) and physiology (Dr. Hyatt), Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn, and the School of Physical Education (Dr. Alexander), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

JAMA. 1968;205(11):764-770. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140370066015

Investigations which would combine body composition and cardiopulmonary function into a unified evaluation of the problems of maximal performance are very few, and those few are limited in scope and in selection of subjects.

Kohlrausch1 measured anthropometrically a few Olympic athletes in Amsterdam in 1928. Cureton2 provided physiologic and anthropometric data of American track and field athletes in 1948. The study contributing most to understanding of the relationship of body build to performance of Olympic athletes was done by Tanner3 who anthropometrically measured and made x-ray films of more than 200 athletes in 1958; subsequently, in 1960, he studied an additional 137 athletes. Tanner's pioneering work added greatly to the knowledge of body build vis-à-vis body mechanics, but he did not determine physiologic parameters or perform detailed analyses of body composition.

The relationship of body composition to oxygen consumption in normal young men during submaximal work was