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Body Types: Mesomorph, Ectomorph & Endomorph

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Body types vary from person to person. Large, small, thin or round, we all have a specific one. This lesson will explore the three main body types and will end with a quiz to see what you have learned.

Body Types

Think about the people you know. Some may be tall and some may be short. Others may be slim or fuller in shape. The bottom line is that people come in all shapes and sizes. The physical makeup of one's body is called their body type.

Lifestyle, level of fitness, and genetics all contribute to this. Three main body types have been defined: mesomorph, ectomorph and endomorph. Let's take a closer look, using examples.

Mesomorph

Ally is a soccer player. Soccer requires a lot of running and agility. She is strong and fit, and her body is tighter and more muscular than those of her friends. Her shape is sort of square. Ally's body type would be described as a mesomorph.

Ectomorph

Jacob likes to play video games. He is thin and slight in stature. He is noticeably slimmer than most of his male friends, and he does not have a lot of muscle or body fat. His shape is kind of like a straight line. Jacob's body type would be defined as an ectomorph.

Endomorph

Ally's brother Mike plays video games with Jacob. Mike is bigger in size than Jacob, and has more body fat. He does not have a lot of muscle, and his skin is somewhat loose and flabby. His shape might be described as round. Mike's body type is an endomorph.

Which Body Type Are You?
body types

Can We Change Our Body Type?

Is it realistic for Mike and Jacob to decide that they want fit and muscular bodies, like Abby's? Is it possible for Jacob to go from a wiry, thin person to a muscular person? How about Mike? Can he go from chubby to ripped?

Our unique body type is the result of several factors. Genetics, or the biological material we inherit from our mother and father, contributes to how we look. This means that to some degree, what we look like is probably going to resemble one or both parents. (Though we can't increase or decrease our height, aside from wearing heels!)

Lifestyle and level of fitness are things that we have a bit more control of when it comes to body type. For example, lifestyle includes things such as the environment in which we live, the foods we eat, and the type of healthcare we receive. We can always move to a town with less pollution, eat healthier foods, and visit the doctor regularly to improve overall wellness.

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