Exercise and body composition of children and youth

R. A. Boileau, T. G. Lohman, M. H. Slaughter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


This review focuses on body composition in two aspects: 1) effect of exercise conditioning on body composition in the pediatric population, and 2) methodology of measuring body composition with special emphasis on problems of assessment in the growing and developing individual. Childhood obesity is an important health problem in most developed countries. While the etiology of the problem is not well understood, over 95% of individual cases can be related to an imbalance of energy intake and expenditure. Exercise represents a significant modality in the treatment of childhood obesity, since by increasing energy expenditure, not only can fat be reduced but a fat-free body (FFB) can be maintained. However, assessment of change in fat and FFB as a consequence of exercise conditioning and/or other factors is somewhat problematic because basic methodological assumptions concerning stability of the FFB are violated during the growth and developmental processes. Specifically, there is evidence that the water and mineral contents of the FFB are not constant as the child matures. A detailed discussion of these methodological problems with respect to densitometry, hydrometry, potassium-40 spectroscopy and anthropometry is presented in this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalScandinavian Journal of Sports Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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