OBJECTIVE: The objective of the current study was to determine the effect of body mass index (BMI) on fatigability of three different muscle groups at four different work intensities. METHODS: Forty-nine normal-weight, 50 overweight, and 43 obese adults (32.1 ± 9.2 years; 50% males) performed fatiguing handgrip, shoulder flexion, and trunk extension exertions at 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80% of the associated maximum voluntary contractions. RESULTS: Obese adults demonstrated 22% to 30% shorter endurance times than normal-weight adults, but this was only observed at lower intensities and with larger and more postural muscles of the shoulder and low back. Strength and fatigue-related strength loss remained comparable across BMI groups in both males and females in these task-specific conditions. Obesity was associated with faster progression in perception of effort at low-intensity shoulder and trunk exertions. While males were stronger than females across all muscle groups, females exhibited greater shoulder fatigue resistance than males at lower intensity levels. CONCLUSION: Findings indicate that the relationship between obesity and fatigability is task dependent. APPLICATION: These findings provide initial evidence on the impact of obesity on worker capacity. Future work that extends the current investigation to include more occupationally relevant scenarios are needed to facilitate occupational task (re)design and assessment practices, such that altered work capacities of two-thirds of the working population are accommodated.
- ObesityEnduranceStrength LossOverexertionExhaustion