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Article Title

THE EFFECT OF BODY HAIR ON AIR DISPLACEMENT PHETHYSMOGRAPHY ASSESSING BODY FAT PERCENTAGE

Abstract

J. Fletcher, A. Bond, T. Blacker, M. Zemp, T. Kidman, P. Larece, T. Davis, D.E. Lankford FACSM

Brigham Young University – Idaho, Rexburg, ID

Isothermal air trapped in exposed body hair generates an underestimation of body fat percentage when measured by air displacement plethysmography. However, previous research has not quantified the influence of exposed body hair on changes in percent body fat. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between exposed body hair (legs, arms, and upper body) on air displacement plethysmography estimates of percentage of body fat and create an algorithm to adjust body fat percent calculations based on exposed body hair. METHODS: Participants consisted of 25 men and 1 woman (24.4 ± 3.0 yrs). All participants completed air displacement plethysmography testing at the following stages: pre, following removal of exposed body hair on the right leg, left leg, and remaining exposed body hair on the upper body. Trimmed body hair was collected and weighed. Changes in percent body fat were compared to total hair trimmed /kg body weight following each stage. RESULTS: Trimmed body hair was significantly related to changes in body fat (R2 = .203, p = 0.0003). The slope for alterations of % body fat based on grams of hair trimmed/kg body weight = 50.631x -0.7799. CONCLUSION: Exposed body hair does influence body fat percentage when estimated using air displacement plethysmography. A body hair indices may be appropriate when performing these type of tests.

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