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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 April;57(4):396-401

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06292-7


language: English

Effect of gender specific anthropometric characteristics on lung function in young competitive triathletes from Malaysia

Hanapi M. JOHARI 1, Hakimi A. ZAINUDIN 1, Victor F. KNIGHT 1, Steven A. LUMLEY 2, Ananthan S. SUBRAMANIUM 3, Brinnell A. CASZO 1, Justin V. GNANOU 1

1 Faculty of Medicine and Defence Health, National Defence University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2 Head Coach, Team Time Triathlon, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 3 Faculty of Defence Studies and Management, National Defence University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


BACKGROUND: Anthropometric and lung function characteristics of triathletes are important for the implementation of individual specific training and recovery recommendations. However, limited data are available for these parameters in triathletes. Hence, the aim of this study was to characterize and examine the gender differences of lung function and anthropometry parameters in competitive triathletes from Malaysia.
METHODS: Body composition assessment and lung function tests were performed on sixteen competitive triathletes (nine male and seven female). The subject’s body composition profile including muscle mass (kg), fat free mass (kg), and percent body fat was measured using a bio-impedance segmental body composition analyzer. Forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) were measured by Quark PFT2 spirometer.
RESULTS: The anthropometric measurements revealed that male triathletes were significantly taller than female triathletes and had significantly more protein and skeletal muscle mass. The female triathletes, however, had significantly higher percent body fat. Male triathletes had statistically significant higher FVC and FEV1 than female triathletes. Both the male and female triathletes showed a positive correlation between height, fat free mass and the lung function markers FVC and FEV1. This association was not seen with Body Mass Index (BMI) in female triathletes.
CONCLUSIONS: The data from our study shows that anthropometric parameters are directly linked to lung function of a triathlete. We also found the relationship between BMI and lung function to be gender specific in triathletes and is dependent on the body protein and fat content. Hence, body composition characterization is essential and provides valuable information for developing individual specific training modules.

KEY WORDS: Anthropometry - Respiratory function tests - Body composition - Sex

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