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Body Composition Comparison of Upper- and Underclass Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets

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INTRODUCTION: Body composition (BC) measurements are used to determine qualification for enlistment and to ensure active members are meeting standards. Although there is extensive research on BC in active-duty military, very few have examined ROTC cadets. The purpose of this study was to identify and quantify differences in BC between freshman/sophomore [underclass (UND)] and junior/senior [upperclass (UPP)] ROTC cadets by using bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy (BIS).

METHODS: UND (N = 21) and UPP (N = 15) Air Force ROTC cadets volunteered for this study. BIS was used to measure fat mass percentage (FM%), fat free mass percentage (FFM%), total body water percentage (TBW%), extracellular fluid percentage (ECF%), and intracellular fluid percentage (ICF%). Separate one-way ANOVAs were run between UND and UPP for all dependent variables with a Bonferroni correction factor. Additionally, a Pearson correlation between abdominal circumference (AC) and FM% was conducted.

RESULTS: No significant differences were observed between the UND and UPP groups’ BMI. However, significant differences were observed for ECF%, ICF%, TBW%, FFM%, and FM% in which the UPP had a higher TBW%, ICF%, FFM%, and a lower ECF% and FM% compared to the UND.

CONCLUSIONS: This study observed significant differences in BC across class ranks in ROTC cadets. Findings from this study suggest that due to an increased exposure to ROTC training, UPP cadets have a more ideal body composition (FFM% and FM%) when compared to UND cadets.

Johnson QR, Mackey CS, Muddle TD, Smith DB, DeFreitas JM. Body composition comparison of upper- and underclass Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2019; 90(9):813–818.
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Keywords: Air Force; Reserve Officers Training Corps; bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy; body fat percentage; physical fitness

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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