Article Data

  • Views 1070
  • Dowloads 153

Original Research

Open Access Special Issue

Correlation between thigh skinfold thickness and physical fitness factors in Korean adults and older individuals

  • Dong Wook Lee1,†
  • San Sung Hwang1,†
  • Hee Seong Jeong2,3,*,
  • Wi-Young So4,*,

1Department of Physical Education, Yonsei University, 03722 Seoul, Republic of Korea

2Department of Sports and Health Management, Mokwon University, 35349 Daejeon, Republic of Korea

3International Olympic Committee Research Centre Korea, 03722 Seoul, Republic of Korea

4Sports Medicine Major, College of Humanities and Arts, Korea National University of Transportation, 27469 Chungju, Republic of Korea

DOI: 10.31083/j.jomh1801022 Vol.18,Issue 1,January 2022 pp.1-10

Published: 31 January 2022

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports and physical activities for men’s health)

*Corresponding Author(s): Hee Seong Jeong E-mail:
*Corresponding Author(s): Wi-Young So E-mail:

† These authors contributed equally.


Background: This cross-sectional epidemiological study aimed to compare the differences in physical fitness variables according to the skinfold thickness in the thigh area in adults and Korean older individuals. Methods: We analyzed data from the 2015 National Fitness Survey. A total of 4034 healthy adults (2442 men, 1592 women) with an average age of 38.19 ± 12.41 years and 880 healthy older subjects (369 men, 511 women) with an average age of 72.32 ± 5.49 years participated in this study. The skinfold thickness of the thigh was measured using a skinfold caliper (Dynatron, Dynatronics, USA). The participants underwent physical fitness tests, including the hand squeeze strength test, abdominal curl ups, standing double-leg long jump, 50 m shuttle run, sit and reach, and 20 m shuttle run for adult men and women. Older men and women performed the following tests: hand squeeze strength, abdominal curl ups, sit to stand test, single leg balance (open eyes), sit and reach, Apley scratch test for shoulder mobility, and 6-minute walk test. Independent t-tests and Pearson correlation analyses were used for the analysis. Results: Among the older men, significant differences were found in thigh skinfold thickness (t = –21.122, p < 0.001), abdominal curl ups (t = 2.165, p = 0.031), and sit and reach in men (t = 2.609, p = 0.009), and thigh skinfold (t = –29.611, p < 0.001), and Apley scratch test for shoulder mobility in women (t = –2.120, p = 0.034). There was a significant correlation between thigh skinfold thickness and physical activity (thigh skinfold thickness) in adult men (t = –54.202, p < 0.001), nondominant hand squeeze strength (t = 2.632, p = 0.009), abdominal curl ups (t = 4.292, p < 0.001), sit and reach (t = 3.063, p = 0.002), twenty meters shuttle run (t = 4.657, p < 0.001). However, no significant differences were found in dominant hand squeeze strength, standing double leg long jump, or 50 m shuttle run in men (p > 0.05). In adult women, there was a significant correlation between thigh skinfold thickness and physical activity (thigh skinfold thickness (t = –49.405, p < 0.001), dominant hand squeeze strength (t = 7.789, p < 0.001), nondominant hand squeeze strength (t = 6.944, p < 0.001), abdominal curl ups (t = 5.347, p < 0.001), standing double leg long jump (t = 5.890, p < 0.001), sit and reach (t = 5.384, p < 0.001), twenty meter shuttle run (t = 5.223, p < 0.001). However, no significant differences were found in fifty meter shuttle run in women (p > 0.05). Among older men, only single leg balance and sit and reach were correlated with thigh skinfold (single leg balance r = 0.169, p = 0.01; sit and reach r = –0.201, p = 0.001). In women, only abdominal curl ups, sit and reach, and Apley scratch test correlated with thigh skinfold (abdominal curl ups r = –0.088, p = 0.002; sit and reach r = –0.137, p = 0.002; Apley scratch test r = 0.090, p = 0.041). Conclusions: The effect of thigh skinfold thickness on the level of physical activity was more pronounced in adults than in older subjects. Our findings show that muscle strength and body fat in the lower extremities can affect overall muscle strength, endurance, and balance.


Body composition; Korea; Physical fitness; Thigh skinfold thickness

Cite and Share

Dong Wook Lee,San Sung Hwang,Hee Seong Jeong,Wi-Young So. Correlation between thigh skinfold thickness and physical fitness factors in Korean adults and older individuals. Journal of Men's Health. 2022. 18(1);1-10.


[1] Popkin BM, Doak CM. The obesity epidemic is a worldwide phenomenon. Nutrition Reviews. 1998; 56: 106–114.

[2] Sturm R, Ringel JS, Andreyeva T. Increasing Obesity Rates and Disability Trends. Health Affairs. 2004; 23: 199–205.

[3] Bhadoria A, Sahoo K, Sahoo B, Choudhury A, Sufi N, Kumar R. Childhood obesity: Causes and consequences. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. 2015; 4: 187.

[4] Dahlkoetter J, Callahan EJ, Linton J. Obesity and the unbalanced energy equation: exercise versus eating habit change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 1979; 47: 898–905.

[5] Kim JR, Kang YS, Jeong BG, Kim BR, Kim SH, Park KS, et al. The Prevalence of Obesity and Its Related Factors among Elementary, Junior High, and Senior High School Students in Gyeongnam Province. The Korean Society Of Maternal and Shild Health. 2007; 11: 10–20.

[6] Song KS, Kwon SJ, Kwon SO. The Longitudinal Study on An-nual Amount of Growth, Physical Fitness and Obesity Rates in Adolescent Boys. The Korean Journal of Growth and Develop-ment. 2014; 22: 85–91.

[7] Yoon NH, Kwon SM. Impact of Obesity on Health Care Utilization and Expenditure. Korean Journal of Health Economics and Policy. 2013; 19: 61–80.

[8] World Health Organization. Obesity. 2021. Available at: (Accessed: 7 October 2021).

[9] Tam BT, Morais JA, Santosa S. Obesity and ageing: Two sides of the same coin. Obesity Reviews. 2020; 21: e12991.

[10] Grundy SM. Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Cardiovascular Disease. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2004; 89: 2595–2600.

[11] Field AE, Coakley EH, Must A, Spadano JL, Laird N, Dietz WH, et al. Impact of Overweight on the Risk of Developing Common Chronic Diseases during a 10-Year Period. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2001; 161: 1581.

[12] Kim HR. Policy Suggestions on Obesity Prevention Strategies and Programs. Health and Welfare Policy Forum. 2010; 163: 39–49.

[13] Noh EY, Eun SJ. The Policy Support Plans of Obesity Prevention and Management for Childhood and Adolescent. Seoul Institute. 2013; 1–185.

[14] Shaw KA, Gennat HC, O’Rourke P, Mar CD. Exercise for over-weight or obesity. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2006; CD003817.

[15] Zurlo F, Larson K, Bogardus C, Ravussin E. Skeletal muscle metabolism is a major determinant of resting energy expendi-ture. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1990; 86: 1423–1427.

[16] Andersen H, Nielsen S, Mogensen CE, Jakobsen J. Muscle Strength in Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes. 2004; 53: 1543–1548.

[17] Eastwood SV, Tillin T, Wright A, Mayet J, Godsland I, Forouhi NG, et al. Thigh fat and muscle each contribute to excess car-diometabolic risk in South Asians, independent of visceral adi-pose tissue. Obesity. 2014; 22: 2071–2079.

[18] Snijder MB, Dekker JM, Visser M, Bouter LM, Stehouwer CD, Kostense PJ, et al. Associations of hip and thigh circumferences independent of waist circumference with the incidence of type 2 diabetes: the Hoorn Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003; 77: 1192–1197.

[19] Orphanidou C, McCargar L, Birmingham CL, Mathieson J, Goldner E. Accuracy of subcutaneous fat measurement: Comparison of skinfold calipers, ultrasound, and computed tomography. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 1994; 94: 855–858.

[20] Kim MK, Hwang MH, Byun YH, Kim SH, Shim YJ, Kim JD, et al. The Analysis of Body Composition Factors in Adoles-cence by using Skinfold Thickness Method and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis. Korean Journal of Sport and Leisure Stud-ies. 2001; 16: 221–237.

[21] Bouchard DR, Héroux M, Janssen I. Association Between Mus-cle Mass, Leg Strength, and Fat Mass With Physical Function in Adults: Influence of Age and Sex. Journal of Aging and Health. 2011; 23: 313–328.

[22] Baumgartner RN, Heymsfield SB, Roche AF. Human Body Composition and the Epidemiology of Chronic Disease. Obesity Research. 1995; 3: 73–95.

[23] Korea Institute of Sport Science and the Korea Ministry of Cul-ture, Sports and Tourism. The Survey of National Physical Fit-ness 2015 (in Korean). Korea Institute of Sport Science and the Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. 2016.

[24] WHO. Regional Office for the Western Pacific. The Asia-Pacific Perspective: Redefining Obesity and Its Treatment. Health Communications Australia: Australia, Sydney. 2000.

[25] Heyward VH. Advanced Fitness Assessment and Exercise Pre-scription. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1992; 24: 278.

[26] Rikli RE, Jones CJ. Senior Fitness Test Manual. 2th edn. Human kinetics: Illinois, Champaign. 2013.

[27] Haff GG, Triplett NT. Essentials of strength training and condi-tioninIng. 4th edn. Human kinetics: Illinois, Champaign. 2015.

[28] American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s Resource Man-ual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 8th edi-tion. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: Pennsylvania, Philadel-phia. 2009.

[29] Johnson RA & Bhattacharyya GK. Statistics: Principles and Methods. John Wiley & Sons, Inc: New jersey, Hoboken. 2010.

[30] Hopkins WG. Spreadsheets for analysis of validity and reliabil-ity. Sportscience. 2015; 19: 36–42.

[31] Duvigneaud N, Matton L, Wijndaele K, Deriemaeker P, Lefevre J, Philippaerts R, et al. Relationship of obesity with physical ac-tivity, aerobic fitness and muscle strength in Flemish adults. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness. 2008; 48: 201–210.

[32] Doymaz F, Cavlak U. Relationship between thigh skinfold mea-surement, hand grip strength, and trunk muscle endurance: Dif-ferences between the sexes. Advances in Therapy. 2007; 24: 1192–1201.

[33] Park W, Ramachandran J, Weisman P, Jung ES. Obesity effect on male active joint range of motion. Ergonomics. 2010; 53: 102–108.

[34] De Stefano F, Zambon S, Giacometti L, Sergi G, Corti MC, Man-zato E, et al. Obesity, muscular strength, muscle composition and physical performance in an elderly population. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging. 2015; 19: 785–791.

[35] Nevitt MC, Cumming SR. Type of fall and risk of hip and wrist fractures: The study of osteoporotic fractures. The study of os-teoporotic fractures research group. Journal of American Geri-atric Society. 1993; 41: 1226–1234.

[36] Roe B, Howell F, Riniotis K, Beech R, Crome P, Ong BN. Older people’s experience of falls: understanding, interpretation and autonomy. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2008; 63: 586–596.

[37] Monteiro AM, Forte P, Carvalho J, Barbosa TM, Morais JE. Re-lationship between fear of falling and balance factors in healthy elderly women: a confirmatory analysis. Journal of Women & Aging. 2021; 33: 57–69.

[38] Milanović Z, Pantelić S, Trajković N, Sporiš G, Kostić R, James N. Age-related decrease in physical activity and functional fit-ness among elderly men and women. Clinical interventions in aging. 2013; 8: 549–556.

[39] Sayer AA, Dennison EM, Syddall HE, Jameson K, Martin HJ, Cooper C. The developmental origins of sarcopenia: using pe-ripheral quantitative computed tomography to assess muscle size in people. The Journals of gerontology series a: biological sci-ences and medical sciences. 2008; 63: 835–840.

[40] Araujo CG. Flexibility assessment: normative values for flex-itest from 5 to 91 years of age. Arquivos brasileiros de cardiolo-gia. 2008; 90: 257–263.

[41] Jozsi AC, Campbell WW, Joseph L, Davey SL, Evans WJ. Changes in Power with Resistance Training in and Younger Men and Women. The Journals of gerontology series a: biological sciences and medical sciences. 1999; 54: M591–M596.

[42] Toraman NF, Ayceman N. Effects of six weeks of detraining on retention of functional fitness of old people after nine weeks of multicomponent training. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2005; 39: 565–568.

[43] Melton LJ, Khosla S, Crowson CS, O’Connor MK, O’fallon WM, Riggs BL. Epidemiology of sarcopenia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2000; 48: 625–630.

[44] McArdle WD, Katch FI, Katch VL. Exercise physiology: nu-trition, energy, and human performanc. 7th edn. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 2010.

[45] Van der Ploeg G, Gunn SM, Withers RT, Modra AC. Use of an-thropometric variables to predict relative body fat determined by a four-compartment body composition model. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003; 57: 1009–1016.

[46] Seeman E, Hopper JL, Young NR, Formica C, Goss P, Tsala-mandris C. Do genetic factors explain associations between muscle strength, lean mass, and bone density? A twin study. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism. 1996; 270: E320–E327.

[47] Weeks BK, Gerrits TA, Horan SA, Beck BR. Muscle size not density predicts variance in muscle strength and neuromuscu-lar performance in healthy adult men and women. Journal of strength and conditioning research. 2016; 30: 1577–1584.

Abstracted / indexed in

Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch) Created as SCI in 1964, Science Citation Index Expanded now indexes over 9,200 of the world’s most impactful journals across 178 scientific disciplines. More than 53 million records and 1.18 billion cited references date back from 1900 to present.

Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition aims to evaluate a journal’s value from multiple perspectives including the journal impact factor, descriptive data about a journal’s open access content as well as contributing authors, and provide readers a transparent and publisher-neutral data & statistics information about the journal.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) DOAJ is a unique and extensive index of diverse open access journals from around the world, driven by a growing community, committed to ensuring quality content is freely available online for everyone.

SCImago The SCImago Journal & Country Rank is a publicly available portal that includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database (Elsevier B.V.)

Publication Forum - JUFO (Federation of Finnish Learned Societies) Publication Forum is a classification of publication channels created by the Finnish scientific community to support the quality assessment of academic research.

Scopus: CiteScore 0.9 (2023) Scopus is Elsevier's abstract and citation database launched in 2004. Scopus covers nearly 36,377 titles (22,794 active titles and 13,583 Inactive titles) from approximately 11,678 publishers, of which 34,346 are peer-reviewed journals in top-level subject fields: life sciences, social sciences, physical sciences and health sciences.

Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers Search for publication channels (journals, series and publishers) in the Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers to see if they are considered as scientific. (

Submission Turnaround Time