Association of dominant somatotype of men with body structure, function during exercise, and nutritional assessment

Am J Hum Biol. 2000 Mar;12(2):167-180. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6300(200003/04)12:2<167::AID-AJHB2>3.0.CO;2-3.


This study examined the hypothesis that somatotype determines body structure, functional responses at peak exercise, and nutritional status of 63 men ages 18-40 years who lived under controlled conditions. Data were grouped by dominant somatotype to emphasize differences in body types. Dominant ectomorphs (n = 19) had less (P < 0.05) body weight, fat weight, and percent body fat than endomorphs (n = 14) and mesomorphs (n = 30). Fat-free weight (FFW), total body potassium (TBK), and body cell mass (BCM), normalized for stature, were lower (P < 0.05) in the ectomorphs than in the endomorphs and mesomorphs. Comparisons between measured and predicted FFW and TBK showed that only the ectomorphs had less (P < 0.05) FFW and TBK than expected. Although all groups had the same peak power output, the ectomorphs had different functional responses during peak exercise. Ectomorphs had the greatest respiratory exchange ratio (P < 0.05), ventilatory equivalent for oxygen, and end-exercise plasma lactate concentrations (P < 0.05), and lowest peak oxygen uptake (L/min; P < 0.05). Nutrient intakes and blood biochemical markers of nutritional status were within the range of normal values in all groups. Correlations between measures of body structure, function, and nutritional status and dominant somatotype components were calculated after controlling for the effects of the other two somatotype components. Partial correlations were variable, with significant correlations ranging from -0.30 to 0.87. These data indicate that ectomorphs, as compared to endomorphs and mesomorphs, have deficits in FFW and BCM which are associated with differences in functional capacity. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 12:167-180, 2000. Published 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.