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Gazzetta Medica Italiana - Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2019 April;178(4):182-7

DOI: 10.23736/S0393-3660.18.03769-5

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Investigation on body composition and physical fitness of Korean Air Force pilots from 1975 to 2016

Seunghwan SHIN 1, Hyunseok JEE 2

1 Department of Aero Fitness, Korea Air Force Academy 635, Danjae-ro, Cheongju-shi, Chungchungbuk-do, South Korea; 2 Frontier Research Institute of Convergence Sports Science (FRICSS), Yonsei University, Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea



BACKGROUND: To evaluate the transitional patterns of body composition and physical fitness factors related with G-tolerance of Korean Air Force pilots (KAFP) compared to those of previous studies.
METHODS: The body compositions (height, weight, Body Mass Index [BMI], and body fat mass) of 72 KAFPs (31.0±4.3 years) were measured, and 49 KAFPs (among 72, 23 candidates did not want to participate) were measured 9 physical fitness variables (back strength, grip strength, leg strength, abdominal strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility, explosive muscle power, agility, and balance) by professional and compared with data from previous studies of Korea Air Force Pilots.
RESULTS: Height, weight, BMI, and body fat mass have gradually increased since 1975 (P<0.01). Compared to corresponding variables in 1975, there has been about a 5.1 cm and 11 kg increase in height and weight, respectively (P<0.01). The average body fat mass and BMI in 2016 were 21.1% and 24.7 kg/m2, respectively, which is close to the ‘obese’ values of these measures. Back strength, leg strength, explosive muscle power, agility, and balance have declined since 2000 (P<0.05). Compared to data collected in 2000, G-tolerance and spatial disorientation capacity-related back strength and explosive muscle power decreased by 33% and 20%, respectively. Leg strength and balance-related measures in 2013 have also gradually declined by 10% and 30%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The declining patterns in body composition and physical fitness level in KAFPs is a potential warning sign for their health and their ability to safely complete their missions. This finding suggests the urgent need to identify efficient ways to improve the health and safety-oriented emphasis of the KAFP program, such as improving dietary lifestyle and developing applications or wearable instruments to enforce pilots’ physical fitness.


KEY WORDS: Body composition - Physical fitness - Pilots - Consciousness disorders

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