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Claire Mills

Claire Mills

University of Gloucestershire, UK

Title: Can we really provide physical activity recommendations for obese people if we are not obese? A phenomenological perspective using a Bariatric Weighted Suit


As an ISAK Kinanthropometrist Dr Claire Mills research interests lies in body composition where she is actively involved with professional athletes, children and obese people. Her PhD developed anthropometric calibration models to estimate whole body density of professional football players and she delivers in schools on overweightness. Recent research into the use of bariatric weighted suits has provided an interesting twist on what it is like to be obese. Claire has published many academic papers on body composition and obesity and is an Editorial Reviewer for both the Obesity Research Open Journal and the Sports and Exercise Medicine Open Journal.


As researchers we are cognisant of the issues relating to the lack of physical activity associated with obesity. However, guidance given to the general population on physical activity levels fails to recognise the difficulties that obese people face to be physical active. Therefore, this study was designed to provide a phenomenological perspective in a practical context. n = 30 Undergraduate Sports Degree students (x ± s; age = 20.6 ± 2.1 years; body mass = 79.1 ± 8.5 kg and stretched stature = 179.8 ± 7.3 cm) were recruited. Participants performed in 5 standardized fitness testing parameters, Sit & Reach (SR), Vertical Jump (VJ), Illinois Agility Run (IAR), 10m sprint (10mS) and a 5 minute motorized walk (5MW) whilst monitoring heart rate (HR). Upon completion, participants wore a bariatric weighted suit (BWS) which provided an additional 20 lbs of padded weight and repeated the 5 testing parameters. Results indicated pre and post ranges of SR from 28.0 – -20.1 cm, VJ = 46.0 – 20.3 cm, IAR = 16.8 – 32.1 s, 10mS = 5.10 – 7.98 s and the 5MW found pre resting HR (x ± s) 62.0 ± 3.4 bpm compared to post HR (x ± s) 184.0 ± 3.5 bpm, indicating an significant increase (P < 0.05) of 122 bpm or 234%. Wearing the BWS caused physical stresses and constraints, suggesting that the BWS could be used with those who are at risk of becoming obese to demonstrate what could happen if they fail to take preventative action.