Sex diversity has been observed for many body parameters, and special attention has been paid to changes during puberty and menopause. In the present study we performed a multivariate analysis on several body fat parameters to obtain a synthetic overview of sex differences from the early reproductive period to the postreproductive period. The sample study is composed of 373 healthy Italian adults (294 females and 79 males). We have examined the amount of fat (in kilograms, as measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) in the left arm, left leg, left trunk hemisphere, right arm, right leg, and right trunk hemisphere, waist to hip ratio, and BMI. The sex differentiation from the early reproductive to the postreproductive period of life has been based on differences between the position of male and female centroids on the discriminant functions obtained for various periods of life. The difference between males and females increases suddenly after 20 years, reaching a maximum at 30 years. In the period between 30 and 40 years the difference decreases quickly, and after 40 years the difference is relatively small and remains practically constant. The fact that maximum sex differentiation coincides with age of best reproductive efficiency points to a relationship between the body parameters investigated and hormone production related to human reproduction.
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Vol. 79 • No. 4