Document Type



The Canadian YMCA-LIFE Program (a nation-wide testing program to evaluate lifestyle and physical fitness) provided an opportunity to examine the somatotype characteristics of a large sample of the Canadian adult population. A total of 13,599 subjects (8,970 males and 4,629 females) ages 15 to 69 were somatotyped by the Heath-Carter anthropometric rating method as part of a YMCA testing program conducted over a three year period 1976-78. Somatotype distributions for age and sex specific sub-groups were compared using analysis of variance to test for dif­ferences among the mean somatotypes, and also to test for differences in the somatotype dispersion among the groups. The findings showed that men age 30 and over were more endo mesomorphic than younger men. No significant shift in male somatotypes beyond the age of 30 was observed. For women there were no dif­ferences in somatotype among those age 15 to 39 years, or among those age 40 and over, but the older women were significantly less ectomorphic and more meso endomorphic than the younger women. At all ages sexual dimorphism was similar, women were more endomorphic and less mesomorphic than men with both sexes similar in terms of ectomorphy. Somatotype dispersion was consistent across groups indicating no age or sex trends in terms of dispersion. The mean somatotype for males 30 years of age and over was 4 - 5½ - 2 and for males under the age of 30, 3½ - 5 - 2. For females 40 years of age and over the mean somatotype was 5 - 4½ - 2 and for females under 40 years of age 4½ - 4 - 2½.