University Measures Up

University Measures Up

University Measures Up

Dietitians, nutritionists and sports scientists are among delegates attending a body measurement training course taking place this week at the University of Aberdeen.

It is the third time the ISAK (International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry) course has been held here. Kinanthropometry encompasses human anatomy and human movement.

A fitness coach and two sports scientists from Celtic Football Club are among the delegates attending from all over Britain. Others include dietitians, lecturers and representatives from bodies such as the Scottish Institute of Sport and the Scottish Hockey Union.

The course is being run for ISAK by Dr Arthur Stewart, the University of Aberdeen's Sports Studies Degree Co-ordinator, in conjunction with Continuing Professional Development Services within the institution's Research and Innovation unit. Pam Smith, a Lecturer in Clinical Dietetics at Glasgow Caledonian University, and Anita Toogood, Director of the Sports Medicine and Human Performance Unit, at the University of Birmingham, are also instructing on the course.

Dr Stewart is one of the world's experts in the field of anthropometry, which is the study of surface measurements and proportions of the human body. Kinanthropometry is an expanding discipline, which includes nutritionists, sports scientists and professionals allied to medicine, who require data which describes physique in different contexts.

He said: "This course sees us building a network of professionals across the UK who are using the qualifications they obtained at the University of Aberdeen to monitor all sorts of different people including athletes, people who are on diet programmes, and clinical patients."

Dr Stewart continued: "If you can't measure, you can't manage these people effectively. There is no point in making training-related decisions about people like athletes if you can't measure them properly.

"These measurements detail areas such as the dimensions of the skeleton and circumferences of limbs and torso and "skin-fold" measurements which predict fat level."

Sports scientists can use anthropometry to track the trajectory of physique change throughout the year. Not only can it inform training related decisions affecting fat and muscle, but it can be part of a wider testing strategy which considers biomechanics and all round health.

Dr Stewart added: "In Australia, Kinanthropometry has been used for years for identifying talent. It identifies school children who are potential athletes and fast tracks them into the kind of sports they could excel at."

Anthropometry is not just by used sports scientists, nutritionists and dieticians. It is a tool used across the board in fields including forensic medicine and archaeology.

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