Agreement Between Methods to Determine Procedure for Maximal Exhalation During Hydrostatic Weighing: A Methodological Investigation

Claire Mills*, Mark De Ste Croix and David James

Corresponding Author

Claire Mills, BA (Hons), PGCE (PE), MSc, FHEA, PhD

Senior Lecturer Department of Applied Sciences Oxstalls Campus University of Gloucestershire Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK Tel. 01242-715156 Fax. 01242-715222 E-mail: clairem@glos.ac.uk

Affiliation

Claire Mills, BA (Hons), PGCE (PE), MSc, FHEA, PhD1*; Mark De Ste Croix, PhD, BA Ed.2; David James, PhD2

1Department of Applied Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK
2Department of Sports and Exercise, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK

Corresponding Author

Claire Mills, BA (Hons), PGCE (PE), MSc, FHEA, PhD

Senior Lecturer Department of Applied Sciences Oxstalls Campus University of Gloucestershire Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK Tel. 01242-715156 Fax. 01242-715222 E-mail: clairem@glos.ac.uk

Article History

Received: March 2nd, 2017 Accepted: April 3rd, 2017 Published: April 6th, 2017

Cite this Article

Mills C, De Ste Croix M, James D. Agreement between methods to determine procedure for maximal exhalation during hydrostatic weighing: A methodological investigation. Sport Exerc Med Open J. 2017; 3(1): 20- 23. doi: 10.17140/SEMOJ-3-143

Copyright

© 2017 Mills C. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Doi

10.17140/SEMOJ-3-143

Introduction: Current evidence suggests that there are many contentious issues that can significantly impact upon hydrostatic weighing assessments, for instance, obtaining reliable and precise data values within the testing environment. Whilst some researchers have addressed some of these issues, but there is still much uncertainty and significant challenges in terms of the procedure for maximal exhalation during hydrostatic weighing. Therefore, due to some of these challenges, it was necessary to conduct a methodological investigation to reduce measurement error.

Methods: Twenty-two students (n=22) were recruited from the University of Gloucestershire (BSc Hons) undergraduate programmes. All participants were over 18 years of age and all were free from disease, illness or injury (ᵡ±s; age=20.5±1.7 years, body mass=68.7±1.5 kg and stretched stature=172.0±8.3 cm).

Results: When comparing body mass in water values between the two exhalation techniques, (pre-submersion and post-submersion exhalation) results indicated systematic bias (lower value for post-submersion technique). There was a significant difference in body mass values between pre-submersion technique (Mean±SD=2.6±1.2 kg) and post-submersion technique (2.2±1.1 kg), t21=4.19, p<0.01.

Conclusion: When using hydrostatic weighing, the post-submersion exhalation technique was associated with greater measurement benefits thus resulting in a more reliable method.

INTRODUCTION

Hydrostatic weighing can be demanding on the participant even after an initial period of familiarisation.1,2,3 For instance, the weighing procedure requires the participant’s cooperation whilst totally submerged in water.4 Being submerged can be a daunting experience for participants, particularly as they are required to exhale maximally whilst keeping as still as possible in a crouched seated position.4,5 These procedural difficulties were reported by Jüurimäe et al4 Demura et al2 and Slater et al3 who suggested that some participants were unable to maximally exhale due to uncertainty, and in some cases apprehension, induced by the required technique. In other words, this apprehension can result in the deliberate retention of surplus air in the lungs, thereby influencing measurement results, making collected data unreliable.6,7,8

The ability of the primary investigator to achieve complete compliance should improve the criterion validity of the hydrostatic weighing procedure.3,4 Hence, the requirement for complete compliance has resulted in researchers using various body positions and breathing manoeuvres that improve comfort and reduce apprehension for participants. Therefore, the aim of this methodological investigation was to determine the agreement between two commonly used maximal exhalation techniques for the hydrostatic weighing procedure.

METHODS

Twenty-two volunteers (n=10 male and n=12 female) were recruited from the University of Gloucestershire, School of Sports and Exercise, (BSc Hons) undergraduate programmes. All participants were over 18 years of age and all were free from disease, illness or injury (ᵡ±s; age=20.5±1.7 years, body mass=68.7±1.5 kg and stretched stature=172.0±8.3 cm) (see Table 1). Ethical approval for the methodological procedures was granted from the University of Gloucestershire’s Research Ethics Committee. All participants were given an informed consent form and understood their involvement and their right to withdraw. Consent was secured with a participant signature.

Table 1. General Summary (ᵡ±s) Characteristics for (n=22) Participants.

Variables

ᵡ±s

Range

Age (yr)

Body mass (kg)

Stretched stature (cm)

Vital Capacity (mean) (l)

20.5±1.7

68.7±1.5

172.0±8.3

4.33±1.1

18.0-25.0

53.8-116.6

156.8-188.4

2.48-7.38

Exhalation Techniques

Pre-submersion (mean) (kg)

Post-submersion (mean) (kg)

 

0.95±1.4

1.40±1.3

 

0.75-5.33

0.65-5.03

 

Participants undertook two separate underwater weighing technique trials in a cross-over order with 5 minutes break between each trial. One trial involved a ‘pre-submersion exhalation’ technique and the other trial involved a ‘post-submersion exhalation’ technique. Each trial comprised of ten attempts at the technique as illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Standardised Testing Schedule.

 

SEMOJ-3-143Fig1

 

For both trials participants sat in an upright position, applied a nose clip and held the ropes of the underwater tank seating system having weights. They were submerged to chin level via a hydraulic hoist that was operated by the primary investigator. Rest intervals between each measurement attempt were given at the discretion of the primary investigator and were dependent on whether the participant felt able to repeat the measurement attempt.

Pre-Submersion Exhalation Technique

The rate of breathing for each participant was called by the primary investigator and comprised of three cycles of normal inhalation and exhalation. On the third cycle the primary investigator asked the participant to take a maximal inhalation immediately followed by a maximal exhalation. The participant was then instructed to blow out maximally just below the surface of the water to avoid temptation of inhalation prior to submerging the head. When the participant felt that they could no longer force any more air out of their lungs, they were instructed to submerge their head fully and keep as still as possible underneath the water. Once submerged, the primary investigator took the measurement of the participant’s body mass in water (kg) from the wall mounted digital weighing scale adjacent to the hydrostatic weighing tank. Following the measurement reading, the primary investigator rapped loudly on the side of the tank thereby instructing the participant to return to the surface.

Post-Submersion Exhalation Technique

Participants were asked to initiate their own breathing rate and when ready, take a small inhalation, lean forwards and submerge themselves fully. Once underwater and keeping as still as possible the participant exhaled maximally. The primary investigator watched for the ending of exhalation bubbles and took the measurement of the participant’s body mass in water (kg) from the wall mounted digital weighing scale adjacent to the hydrostatic weighing tank. Following the measurement, the primary investigator rapped loudly on the side of the tank instructing the participants to return to the surface. The agreement between the average underwater weights (from ten attempts) for each participant across both measurement techniques was illustrated in the form of a scatter plot (Figure 2). The bias, residual error and heteroscedasticity between the two techniques are illustrated (Figure 3) to determine whether significant differences (underreporting) were evident between the exhalation techniques.

Figure 2. Comparison of Pre-Submersion and Post-Submersion Exhalation Techniques for Underwater Weighing.

 

SEMOJ-3-143Fig2

 

Figure 3. Bland and Altman Plot Showing Bias and 95% Limits of Agreement for the Pre-Submersion and Post-Submersion Exhalation Techniques for Underwater Weighing

 

SEMOJ-3-143Fig3

RESULTS

Results from the pre-submersion exhalation technique revealed that four participants were unable to successfully carry out a single attempt and the remaining participants were only able to complete a mean average of four underwater weighing attempts. Participant’s claimed that this technique was uncomfortable and stressful, thereby questioning the usefulness of this measurement. Conversely, the primary investigator found that all participants using the post-submersion exhalation technique were able to perform a mean average of nine underwater weighing attempts. All participants albeit subjectively, claimed that this measurement was far more comfortable. When comparing body mass in water values between the two exhalation techniques, results indicated systematic bias (lower value for post-submersion technique). There was a significant difference in body mass values between pre-submersion technique (Mean±SD=2.6±1.2 kg) and postsubmersion technique (2.2-1.1 kg), t21=4.19, p<0.01 (Figures 2 and 3).

CONCLUSION

Whilst the process of obtaining underwater weight via hydrostatic weighting can vary according to laboratory and researchers, it is crucial to reduce measurement error with the measurement technique.7,8,9 Results from this methodological investigation suggest that the post-submersion exhalation technique was associated with less apprehension, greater comfort and reduced water disturbance than the pre-submersion method, thus resulting in more reliable values for underwater weight. Since higher values for underwater weight are a reflection of more a complete exhalation cycle, it can be concluded that the post-submersion exhalation technique was the preferred technique for all future hydrostatic weighing testing in the future.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

1. Jackson AS, Pollock ML. Prediction accuracy of body density, lean body weight and total body volume equations. Med Sci Sports. 1977; 9(4): 197-201. Website. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/604713. Accessed March 1, 2017.

2. Demura S, Yamaji S, Kitabayashi T. Residual volume on land and when immersed in water: Effect on percent body fat. J Sports Sci. 2006; 24(8): 825-833. doi: 10.1080/02640410500128163

3. Slater GJ, Duthie GM, Pyne DB, Hopkins WG. Validation of a skinfold based index for tracking proportional changes in lean mass. Br J Sports Med. 2006; 40(3): 208-213. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2005.019794

4. Jüurimäe T, Jagomägi G, Lepp T. Body composition of university students by hydrostatic weighing and skinfold measurement. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1992; 32(4): 387-393. Website. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/1293422. Accessed March 1, 2017.

5. Katch FI, Katch VL. Measurement and prediction errors in body composition assessment and the search for the perfect prediction equation. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1980; 51(1): 249-260. doi: 10.1080/02701367.1980.10609286

6. Dewit O, Fuller NJ, Fewtrell MS, Elia M, Wells JCK. Whole body air displacement plethysmography compared with hydrodensitometry for body composition analysis. Arch Dis Child. 2000; 82(2): 159-164. doi: 10.1136/adc.82.2.159

7. Collins AL, Saunders S, McCarthy HD, Williams JE, Fuller NJ. Within and between laboratory precision in the measurement of body volume using air displacement plethysmography and its effect on body composition assessment. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004; 28(1): 80-90. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802466

8. Collins AL, Saunders S, McCarthy HD, Williams JE, Fuller NJ. Within and between laboratory precision in the measurement of body volume using air displacement plethysmography and its effect on body composition assessment. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004; 28(1): 80-90. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802466

9. Katch I. Practice curves and errors of measurement in estimating underwater weighing by hydrostatic weighing. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1969; 1(4): 212-216. Website. http://insights.ovid.com/medicine-science-sports/masis/1969/12/000/practicecurves-errors-easurement-estimating/8/00005756. Accessed March 1, 2017.

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