Body composition and the expiratory reserve volume of pre-pubertal lean and obese boys and girls

H. L. Barlett, W. L. Kenney, E. R. Buskirk

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Previously, we examined the expiratory reserve volume (ERV) of the lungs as a function of percentage body fat in an adult population (age range 18-58 years). A negative correlation resulted when ERV (expressed as a percentage of vital capacity, (ERV/VC) x 100) was regressed on percentage fat for both sexes. In the present study, similar comparisons were made for 33 pre-pubertal boys and girls (aged 7-12.5 years). The regression equation for the boys ((ERV/VC) x 100 = 44.2 - 0.56 %fat, r =-0.77, P = 0.002) was similar to that of the adult men ((ERV/VC) x 100 = 48.7 - 0.80 %fat, r = -78) and women ((ERV/VC) x 100 = 49.5 - 0.63 %fat, r = -0.70). However, the girls studied did not follow the same pattern. In this group of pre-pubertal girls, a significant increase in (ERV/VC) x 100 with increasing body fatness was seen ((ERV/VC) x 100 = 29.3 + 0.19 %fat, r = 0.48, P = 0.03). In all four groups, no correlation was seen with age or height. Whereas there was a significant correlation between weight and (ERV/VC) x 100 in the adults, no such relationship was evident in the younger subjects. In pre-pubertal obese girls limited upper body muscle development, perhaps as a result of limited physical activity, may explain the different relationship between ERV and body fatness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-656
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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