Are adult physiques geometrically similar? The dangers of allometric scaling using body mass power laws.
Cast your vote
You can rate an item by clicking the amount of stars they wish to award to this item.
When enough users have cast their vote on this item, the average rating will also be shown.
Your vote was cast
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractHuman physique classification by somatotype assumes that adult humans are geometric similar to each other. However, this assumption has yet to be adequately tested in athletic and nonexercising human populations. In this study, we assessed this assumption by comparing the mass exponents associated with girth measurements taken at 13 different sites throughout the body in 478 subjects (279 athletic subjects, and 199 nonexercising controls). Corrected girths which account for subcutaneous adipose tissue at the upper arm, thigh, and calf sites, and which simulate muscle circumference, were also calculated. If subjects are geometrically similar to each other, girth exponents should be approximately proportional to M(1/3), where M is the subjects' body mass. This study confirms that human adult physiques are not geometrically similar to each other. In both athletic subjects and nonexercising controls, body circumferences/limb girths develop at a greater rate than that anticipated by geometric similarity in fleshy sites containing both muscle and fat (upper arms and legs), and less than anticipated in bony sites (head, wrists, and ankles). Interestingly, head girths appear to remain almost constant, irrespective of subjects' body size/mass. The results also suggest that thigh muscle girths of athletes and controls increase at a greater rate than that predicted by geometric similarity, proportional to body mass (M(0.439) and M(0.377), respectively). These systematic deviations from geometric similarity have serious implications for the allometric scaling of variables such as energy expenditure, oxygen uptake, anaerobic power, and thermodynamic or anthropometric studies involving individuals of differing size.
CitationAm. J. Phys. Anthropol. 2004, 124(2):177-82
- Can greater muscularity in larger individuals resolve the 3/4 power-law controversy when modelling maximum oxygen uptake?
- Authors: Nevill AM, Markovic G, Vucetic V, Holder R
- Issue date: 2004 Jul-Aug
- Relationship between adiposity and body size reveals limitations of BMI.
- Authors: Nevill AM, Stewart AD, Olds T, Holder R
- Issue date: 2006 Jan
- Weight-for-height values and limb anthropometric composition of tube-fed children with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
- Authors: Kong CK, Wong HS
- Issue date: 2005 Dec
- Muscle mass of competitive male athletes.
- Authors: Spenst LF, Martin AD, Drinkwater DT
- Issue date: 1993 Feb
- Modeling physiological and anthropometric variables known to vary with body size and other confounding variables.
- Authors: Nevill AM, Bate S, Holder RL
- Issue date: 2005