Menu Close

Age-Related Changes in Body Composition among Turkana Males of Kenya


Campbell, Benjamin C.; Gray, Peter B.; & Leslie, Paul W. (2005). Age-Related Changes in Body Composition among Turkana Males of Kenya. American Journal of Human Biology, 17(5), 601-610.


To determine if age-related changes in body composition among males from an energetically limited population are similar to those of Western populations, we collected anthropometric data from Turkana pastoral nomads of northern Kenya. Measures included height, weight, and triceps, suprailiac, and subscapular skinfolds. Subjects were 132 nomadic and 90 settled Turkana males, with estimated ages 20+. Skinfold measures were used to calculate both fat-free mass (FFM) and percent body fat. Results were analyzed by 10-year age groups, using general linear models. Subpopulations did not differ in FFM, but percent body fat was significantly higher among settled males. Age-related changes in FFM were curvilinear, peaking in the 30s for nomads and 40s for settled males, with a significant decline in men over 60 years of age. Nomadic males show declines in percent body fat from the 20s onward, while percent body fat among settled males increased across age groups. These results indicate that age-related patterns of FFM in Turkana men are similar to those found in Western populations, but that age-related patterns of adiposity can differ. As such, they suggest that age-related patterns of fat-free mass in men may vary little across populations, while age-related patterns of adiposity are more closely related to environmental conditions.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Human Biology


Campbell, Benjamin C.
Gray, Peter B.
Leslie, Paul W.