Mal J Nutr 21(1): 45 - 55, 2015

Body Somatotype, Anthropometric Characteristics and Physical Activity of College-Age Adults in Selected Institutions of Higher Learning in Kelantan, Malaysia
Wan Abdul Manan WM, Kum CS & Lee YY

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The objective of this cross-sectional study was to determine the body somatotypes, anthropometric characteristics and physical activity levels of young adults.
Methods: Using a systematic sampling approach, a total of 180 students were recruited from three institutions of higher learning in the state of Kelantan. Body weight, height and other anthropometric dimensions including skinfold, bone breadth and limb girth were measured to determine their body mass index (BMI) and body somatotypes. Physical activity level was determined using the Short Form - International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).
Results: Almost half (49.4%) of the respondents were with a mean age of 21.5 (1.5), and mean BMI of 22.1 (4.5) kg/m2. The proportion of overweight and obese respondents based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) classification was 17.2% and 6.7%, respectively. In terms of body somatotype, 57.2% and 18.3% of them were classified as endomorphic and mesomorphic somatotype groups respectively, while another 24.4% were ectomorphic. The IPAQ scoring protocol indicated that 35.0% of them achieved high physical activity levels, while 19.3% reported low physical activity levels. There were significantly more endomorphic females, whereas the males significantly dominated the mesomorphic somatotype group.
Conclusion: Respondents with mesomorphic body somatotype (relative muscularity) were categorised as obese under the BMI classification although their body weight could be due to higher skeletal/muscle mass. The somatotyping method can be used as an additional tool to the conventional BMI indicators for assessing adiposity.

Keywords: Anthropometric characteristics, body somatotype, college-age adults, physical activity, young adults

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