According to a study published by the University of Living Sciences in Poland, there is a tendency for more women to be of the endomorphic body type. (1)
In particular, it has been seen that with age, fluctuations occur in the female body that leads to changes in the initial somatotype, and this could be related to an increased risk of some diseases.
Is falling into the category of a body type a fixed thing? Although there is a genetic predisposition, some parameters such as body shape and size can change depending on diet, habits, and physical activity.
Read on to determine what defines whether you are ectomorphic, mesomorphic, or endomorphic. What to eat and how to train?
Body types in women
The body of an ectomorphic female is characterized by a lean physique, weak bones and muscles, bent arms, relatively short torso, long limbs, and dry skin.
Additionally, ectomorphic women have rapid energy expenditure, low-fat cell count, and slow muscle growth.
Mesomorphic women have a muscular body with a strong skeleton, broad firm shoulders and chest, massive pelvis, and rapid muscle growth.
In contrast, the endomorphic body type is characterized by a rounded physique, many fat cells, greater waist circumference than the chest, large head, broad face, and short neck.
Endomorphs often have short, rounded shoulders, weak limbs, fingers, and strong bones. They also have great potential to build muscle mass but have difficulty losing fat.
In a simple way, the somatotype can be determined based on the measured height and body weight using the Rohrer index (RI).
The RI is calculated as weight in grams multiplied by 100 and divided by height in cubic centimeters (g / cm3). This allows women to be assigned into three groups:
- ectomorphs: <12.8 kg / m3
- mesomorphs: 12.9-14.6 kg / m3
- endomorphs: 14.7 kg / m3
The most complete tests are based on a broader set of characteristics where, for each one, values are assigned to each somatotype ranging from 1 to 7.
So, a woman who only has endomorphic characteristics is assigned the value 7-1-1. While a person with only mesomorphic features 1-7-1 and ectomorphic 1-1-7. This means that there are 343 possible combinations.
In general, this is the most accepted, and supports the theory that body types are rarely expressed in pure form.
Diet and nutrition in women according to body type
It is a fact that there is a relationship between the number of calories, the nutrient intake, and the body type of a person.
It was found that, on average, an ectomorph consumes approximately 10% fewer calories than an endomorph.
Regarding nutrients, differences have been found between body type and intake of total protein, animal protein, total fat, vitamin E, thiamine, and phosphorus.
As a general rule, endomorphs consume more of all these nutrients, while ectomorphs often do not meet the recommended standards. Mesomorphs rank in the middle except for a lower intake of vitamin E.
The observed trends draw attention to the nutritional status of women with an ectomorphic somatotype, which may be a factor associated with malnutrition because their BMI values indicated low weights.
Tips for Ectomorphs, Mesomorphs, and Endomorphs
Ectomorphic women must take special care to avoid a lack of nutrients. In particular, do not neglect the intake of protein, B vitamins, and phosphorus.
Mesomorphic women have a complete nutritional balance and adequate physical activity levels. However, they may lack vitamin E and tend to transition to endomorphic with age.
Endomorphs meet the daily amounts of essential nutrients but tend to excess macronutrients and calories. In addition, they tend to combine a high consumption of refined carbohydrates and a low level of physical activity. This can lead to the risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
Personality and physical activity according to the somatotype
Ectomorphs are considered introverted, short-tempered, irritable, sensitive, susceptible to fatigue, and find it difficult to contact other people. (3)
They generally tend to move more and have difficulty sleeping. The ectomorphic physique requires less intensive training, longer breaks, a higher protein intake, and adequate rest. An ideal example of an exercise for ectomorphs is yoga.
Mesomorphs are considered energetic, active, dynamic, and aggressive. They generally tend towards a sporty lifestyle in youth. The best thing for them is to continue with the sport; the precaution for this body is not to stop training or overeat since they tend to gain weight with age.
Endomorphic women are generally outgoing and emotionally unstable. They are sociable and have a taste for comfort and a pleasant lifestyle.
They also have great potential to build muscle mass, but they tend to accumulate fat due to their low physical activity. For endomorphs, dynamic and friendly exercises are recommended, such as going for a run in a group.
Women tend to be endomorphic with age.
Increasing age is associated with hormonal changes; in women, the production of estrogens and progesterone in the body decreases.
If it is also combined with a sedentary lifestyle, this is associated with changes in the size, proportions, and composition of the body. Usually, there is an increase in fat content in the central part of the body and a reduction in muscle growth and mass.
In a study involving 148 women of an age close to 60 years – 87 endomorphic, 31 mesomorphic, and 30 ectomorphic were observed. This proportion appears to be typical of the population at this age. (1)
Another study in 1,410 Canadian women observed a trend in increasing endomorphic components between the ages of 20 and 40. And a more significant increase of these in sedentary women.
In older people, the endomorphic component develops at the expense of the ectomorphic, which can be a risk factor for the development of metabolic diseases associated with the type and amount of body fat.
Different body types differ in what they eat and how they exercise. While there may be a genetic tendency, these factors are even more critical in determining your various physical characteristics.
Ectomorphs are at higher risk of nutrient deficiencies and are encouraged to emphasize eating more protein, vitamins, and minerals. Mesomorphs continue to train even as they age and eat more foods with vitamin E.
Women tend to be endomorphic with age. This is mainly because they eat a diet with excess calories and low physical activity. Combined with hormonal changes, it leads to an increase in the percentage of body fat and an increased risk of chronic diseases.