Infants and Children

For infants, the 'reference' methods used to determine body composition in infants include 18O isotope dilution (12) and DEXA (13). The ponderal index (weight divided by height cubed) has been used as an anthropometric method to assess body fatness. Measuring children's body composition is problematic, as their tissue composition varies with growth, the rate and timing of growth vary widely, and physical activity influences the composition of fat free mass (14). Several studies have used doubly labelled water to monitor children's growth and estimate their total body water, and thus body composition. Reference values for body weight and triceps skinfold thickness of British children have been provided by Tanner and co-workers (15-17), although the Tanner reference values for weight are no longer appropriate in the UK. In a validation study, Reilly et al. (18) have shown that the skinfold method produces large errors in predicting body fat

Figure 4.4 Measuring waist circumference midway between iliac crest and lowest rib margin, and hip circumference at the level of the greater trochanters

of 9-year-old children. These workers used underwater weighing as the reference method and found it acceptable even to very young children. As a generalization, anthropometric methods to estimate body fat are not reliable in children. BMI can be used, but with caution in its interpretation because of variable stages of development at the same age. There are standard BMI reference curves (Figure 4.5) developed by Cole et al. (19) for the Child Growth Foundation.

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Fire Up Your Core

Fire Up Your Core

If you weaken the center of any freestanding structure it becomes unstable. Eventually, everyday wear-and-tear takes its toll, causing the structure to buckle under pressure. This is exactly what happens when the core muscles are weak – it compromises your body’s ability to support the frame properly. In recent years, there has been a lot of buzz about the importance of a strong core – and there is a valid reason for this. The core is where all of the powerful movements in the body originate – so it can essentially be thought of as your “center of power.”

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