An Anthropological Study on 8799 Adults in the United Kingdom

Webster, Cheryll Isobel (1987) An Anthropological Study on 8799 Adults in the United Kingdom. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The overall aim of this Thesis was to establish social factors affecting body composition in both males and females. In order to achieve this the method adopted was to study a group of 6495 males and 2304 females aged 16-64 years, selected as described in Chapter 2, from both the British Armed Forces and the civilian population. The measurements taken from each individual were height, weight and four skinfolds. Using the equations of Durnin and Womersley (1974) and Siri (1956) the skinfolds were converted into a value for percent bodyfat (% fat) and fat free mass (FFM) was calculated by subtracting fat mass from body weight. The two populations, Forces and civilians, were divided into age groups and the mean results for height, weight, FFM and % fat were established for both males and females. (However, in the female Forces sample only age groups 17-29 years were used due to the low values for 'n' found in the older age groups). All subjects completed a detailed questionnaire (see Appendix B). The following comparisons were made from the available anthropometric and social information. Forces and Civilian Populations The main difference found between the male samples was for mean FFM values. The Forces sample were found to have a bigger 'build' than that of the civilian population. The female Forces were found to be taller and heavier than the female civilians. The female Forces were on average slightly fatter but the difference in weight was due mainly to the differences in height between the two populations. Previous British Anthropometric Studies The height and weight results of the civilian population were compared to previous studies. The studies involved were those of Kemsley (1943) and Montegriffo (1968). It was of interest to note the general trends in height and weight over the past 40 years. The secular increase in height was found to be approximately 2cm/decade and weight gain with age decreasing. Individual Services within the Forces The mean results within age groups were compared amongst all three services. In the male sample, all three services were very similar. However, the Army tended to have bigger 'builds' and the Navy were slightly 'fatter' than the Army or Airforce. For females, again all three services were very similar. However, the WRNS were also slightly 'fatter' than the Army or Airforce. Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO's) The above groups were derived from the Forces sample and a comparison of mean results made. The Officers were found to be taller than the other ranks within similar age groups. However, when compared in similar height groups the NCO's were found to have higher mean values for FFM and % bodyfat than the Officers sample. Analysis of the female sample was limited due to low numbers. However, there was a tendency for the Officers to be slightly taller than the other ranks. Smoking Habits and Body Composition Twice as many of the Forces male sample compared to the civilian male sample smoked (45% & 20% respectively). For both Forces and civilian male samples, smokers were found to be 'less fat' than 'non-smokers', on average by 1%. Ex-smokers who had given up within the past 5 years had the highest mean values for % bodyfat. 'Heavy' smokers were not found to be more obese than ' light' smokers. In the female samples again almost twice as many Forces females smoked (46%) compared to the civilian females (26%). Like the male samples both female samples found smokers to be ' less fat' than the non-smokers, again the magnitude of the difference being on average 1% bodyfat. Exercise Habits and Body Composition In the Forces male sample 62% of subjects exercised >2/week compared to only 44% of the civilian male sample. For both the Forces and civilian male samples those who exercised more had higher mean values for FFM and lower mean values for % bodyfat (on average 1.5%) than the less active subjects. In the Forces female sample 41% of subjects exercised > 2/week compared to only 32% of the civilian female sample. Similar to the male findings, the general, trend was that those subjects who took more exercise had less fat (on average 1%) and overall had higher mean values for FFM than the less active group. However, the differences found between the two female activity groups in mean FFM values were not as pronounced as the differences between the two male groups. Occupation and Body Composition The findings of this study showed that both occupation and exercise can affect anthropometric variables. The Forces male sample showed that those subjects who had active jobs and who exercised had higher mean values for FFM (on average 2kg) and lower mean values for % bodyfat (on average 1.6%). For the male and female civilian samples those subjects with sedentary jobs who exercised more were found to have less bodyfat (on average 1%). However, the differences in mean FFM values were not as significant.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Physical anthropology
Date of Award: 1987
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1987-77512
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2020 09:06
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2020 09:06

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