Document Type



This study examines the relationship between measures of aerobic fitness, occupation, leisure activities, and body size and fatness in young Western Samoan men. Four groups were studied: rural villagers, urban manual laborers, urban office workers with aerobic leisure activities, and urban office workers without aerobic leisure activities. Aerobic fitness is estimated from the heart rate response to a submaximal, graded step-test. The observed heart rates during exercise indicate that fitness levels are highest among manual laborers and sportsmen in sedentary jobs, intermediate among rural villagers and lowest among men with sedentary jobs and leisure activities. When differences in body weight, body fatness and ambient temperature are controlled for, fitness is highest among manual laborers, intermediate among villagers and sportsmen and lowest among sedentary worker non-sportsmen. This study therefore indicates that occupation, leisure activities, body weight and body fatness all contribute to variation in aerobic fitness in young Western Samoan men who differ in rural/urban location of residence and occupation. It also indicates that the direction of change in aerobic fitness with modernization depends upon the nature of occupational and leisure activity patterns in modern areas, and that this change is not necessarily in a negative direction.