Original paper

Anthropometric variables of a sample of Italian adults and their relation to physical activity

Danubio, Maria Enrica;Parrini, Massimiliano; Ciogli, Francesco;Vecchi, Elvira;Rufo, Fabrizio

Abstract

The increasing diffusion of fitness centers in Italy is a response to the growing awareness of the serious health risks of a sedentary lifestyle. In the present study,we defined the anthropological profile of members of a sports club in Rieti (Latium,Central Italy) and evaluated the effects of constant physical activity on their somatic characteristics. Data from 335 healthy males and females were used.We analyzed 36 anthropometric measures in two large age classes (20-39 years and 40 years and over). In a subsample of 40 volunteers,the measures were recorded again after about 5 months (on average).Student's t-test showed significant differences (p = 0.05 ) between the two age classes for 8 variables in the males and 11 variables in the females and highly significant differences (p = 0.001) for 6 variables in the males and 4 in the females. In the subjects measured a second time,the paired t-test showed significant differences for 12 parameters in the males and 7 parameters in the females and highly significant differences for 7 variables in the males and 10 in the females. The differences between the two age classes in both sexes confirm the presence of both the secular trend and significant morphological changes due to aging.The significant decreases of all healthrelated anthropometric measurements after an average of 5 months of physical activity in both sexes demonstrate that the beneficial effects of regular physical activity become apparent after only a few months.

Keywords

AnthropometryItalian adultssecular trendphysical activity.