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Thickness of Subcutaneous Fat and Activity of Underlying Muscles

GRANT GWINUP, M.D., F.A.C.P.; REG CHELVAM, M.R.C.S.; and TERRY STEINBERG, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Grant Gwinup, M.D., University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine, 101 S. Manchester Ave., Orange, Calif. 92668


Orange, California


Ann Intern Med. 1971;74(3):408-411. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-74-3-408
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In order to subject the concept of "spot reduction" to critical examination we have compared the circumference and the thickness of subcutaneous fat at specific sites over the right and left arms of a group of tennis players. There was a mean difference in circumference of 2.25 cm between hypertrophied and less active forearms of male tennis players and a 1.15 cm difference between hypertrophied and opposite forearms of female tennis players. The difference in circumference of the upper arms was 0.95 cm in men and 1.05 cm in women. These values were significantly different from those of control subjects. There was, however, no significant difference in the thickness of subcutaneous fat over the muscles of the arm receiving more exercise as compared to the arm receiving less exercise. These studies provide direct evidence against the validity of the concept of "spot reduction."

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