Anthropometric characteristics of men in Antarctica.

V. Belkin, D. Karasik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Thirty anthropometric and ten physiological parameters were evaluated over a 10-month period during 1985-86 in 66 polar explorers at an Antarctic station (Mirny observatory), all of them males aged 25-61 years. The evaluations were made in the months of April, September and January, which corresponded to the following Antarctic seasons: the beginning of the polar night, an intermediate period, and the beginning of the polar day; the necessary measurements were performed on subjects belonging to three occupational groups, namely: administrative, scientific, and manual workers. Significant changes in the pattern of skinfold thickness were observed using ANOVA with repeated measurements during the winter period (p < 0.05). Despite the fact that body weight and BMI of subjects remained unchanged, the mean sum of skinfold thickness and subcutaneous fat mass increased over the studied period at the expense of muscle mass. In participants engaged in high levels of outdoor physical activity (e.g. construction workers, drivers, technicians), an increase in fat mass, significant fall in muscle mass on wrist dynamometry, and protracted time of the simple motor response time was documented. Systolic blood pressure showed a downward trend during the winter in the group of manual workers, while significant rises in the diastolic pressure (p < 0.05) were found in the group of scientists at the end of the polar night. The present findings may be interpreted as evidence for destabilization in the studied individuals, and for an adaptation response to the Antarctic environment, which results in apparent increase in body fat and decrease in muscle mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-169
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Circumpolar Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes


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