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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Changes in body fat, physical working capacity and personality of obese women undergoing training Debienne, Raymond Louis


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the changes in work capacity, personality and body fat in obese women undergoing training. Twenty-six subjects from the Vancouver Y.W.C.A. "180-Plus Club" voluntarily participated in the study. The subjects were tested before and after a nine month program. The pretraining and posttraining test environments and test procedures were standardized for all subjects. The experimental group met once per week, until halfway through the program, and then met twice a week. The program consisted of a gymnasium and pool exercise session. A control group of eleven subjects was used to help establish the reliability of the Astrand test of physical work capacity. The following variables were measured as follows: (a) physical work capacity -- Astrand submaximal test, (b) personality -- Cattell's Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire, Forms A and B, and (c) body fat -- determination of body density by underwater weighing and the use of Brozek and Keys formula, as well as subcutaneous fat measurements taken at six sites. Three groups were formed on the basis of attendance. The results of the study show that there was a slight improvement associated with a higher frequency of attendance, however, even the group with the highest frequency of attendance failed to show any physiologically important change in work capacity or 'percent body fat’. The combined group results showed a departure from the general female adult population for intelligence, which was higher than the population mean, and for ego strength, which was lower at pretest. The poorest attenders, Group I, showed evidence of departures from the population in factors which described them as being happy-go-lucky, absent-minded, casual and undependable. It is, therefore, not unexpected that persons with these characteristics would drop out of the program. Groups II and III, with respective higher frequencies of attendance, showed significant changes from pretest to posttest in factors which indicated that they became more emotionally mature (Group II) and more sensitive and composed (Group III). These would appear to be desirable changes in view of the Y.W.C.A.'s objectives for psychological as well as physical changes. On the basis of the findings of this study, it does not appear that the time, money and effort required to run the "180-Plus Club" program can be justified.

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