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Testosterone, Physical Activity, and Somatic Outcomes among Filipino Males – Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey

Testosterone, Physical Activity, and Somatic Outcomes among Filipino Males


Gettler, Lee T.; Agustin, Sonny S.; & Kuzawa, Christopher W. (2010). Testosterone, Physical Activity, and Somatic Outcomes among Filipino Males. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 142(4), 590-599.


Testosterone (T) facilitates male investment in reproduction in part through its anabolic effects on skeletal muscle. Traits like muscle and strength are energetically costly but are believed to enhance competitive ability in humans and other mammals. However, there are limited data on relationships between T and somatic outcomes in lean, non-western populations. We evaluate relationships between waking and pre-bed salivary T and adiposity, fat-free mass (FFM), arm muscle area (AMA), and grip strength (GS) in a large, population-based birth cohort of young adult Filipino males (20.8–22.6 years, n = 872). Data were collected as part of the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey. Neither waking nor evening T predicted FFM, AMA, or GS. However, there were borderline or significant interactions between T and basketball playing (the most common team sport) and weight lifting as predictors of outcomes: higher waking T predicted higher FFM (activity × T interaction P < 0.01), AMA (interaction P < 0.1), and GS (interaction P < 0.02) among frequent basketball players, and GS (interaction P < 0.09) among the smaller sample of weight lifters. In contrast to clinical studies, but consistent with findings in several subsistence-level populations, T was positively related to adiposity in these lean young males, suggesting that energy status might regulate circulating T. Our findings support a role of the prewaking rise in T as a determinant of energetic allocation to lean mass and strength in the context of repeated muscular use and support the hypothesized role of T as a mediator of investment in costly somatic traits in human males.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Physical Anthropology


Gettler, Lee T.
Agustin, Sonny S.
Kuzawa, Christopher W.