• Identifying the optimal body shape and composition associated with strength outcomes in children and adolescent according to place of residence: an allometric approach

      Lovecchio, Nicola; Giuriato, Matteo; Zago, Matteo; Nevill, Alan M. (Routledge, 2019-01-29)
      The purpose of the study was to identify the optimal body shape and composition associated with physical fitness levels of children living in urban and rural areas of Italy. A total of 7102 children (11–14 years) were assessed for weight, height, percentage body fat (FM%), sit-and-reach flexibility (SAR), standing broad jump (SBJ) and sit-ups (SUP). A multiplicative allometric model, Y = a · massk1 · heightk2 ·ε, was used to predict the physical outcome variables Y = SBJ and SUP. The model was expanded to incorporate FM% and SAR as follows Y = a · massk1 · heightk2 · FM%k3 · exp(b· FM% + c· SAR) ·ε. Note that FM% was incorporated as a “gamma function” that allows an initial growth, and subsequent decline in Y as FM% increases in size. Although having an ectomorph body shape appears advantageous, being too thin appears detrimental to the strength outcomes. Being flexible would also benefit physical fitness levels. Finally, our results indicate that ursban children aged 11–14 have superior strength outcomes compared with rural children, having controlled for differences in body shape and composition, a finding that may be associated with rural environments having fewer exercise facilities compared with urban conurbations.