Abstract # 877 Event # 191:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 20, 2005 08:00 AM-08:15 AM: Session 14 (Mayfair Room) Oral Presentation

Determining Body Fat Distribution and Development of Guidelines for Obesity in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

E. Videan, J. Fritz and J. Murphy
Primate Foundation of Arizona, Primate Foundation of Arizona, PO Box 20027, Mesa, AZ 85277-0027, USA
     Discussions of obesity in chimpanzees are rare in the literature and no study to date has examined obesity in captive chimpanzees. This project develops guidelines for defining obesity in captive chimpanzees through the examination of body fat distribution and serum clinical chemistry values in 45 adult chimpanzees (17 males, 28 females). During each animal’s biannual exam morphometric data were collected including 7 skinfolds (mm), crown-to-rump length (cm), abdominal and hip circumference (cm), and total body weight (kg). Total body weight and crown-to-rump length was converted to a body mass index (BMI) and correlated with skinfold measurements. Chest (r = 0.551, P = 0.002), midaxillary (r = 0.615, P < 0.001), abdominal (r = 0.629, P < 0.001), and thigh (r = 0.556, P = 0.002) skinfolds were positively correlated with BMI in females. In addition, there were positive correlations between BMI and both triglycerides (r = 0.385, P = 0.043) and blood glucose (r = 0.421, P = 0.026) levels. Chest (r = -0.497, P = 0.043), thigh (r = -0.432, P = 0.084), and a chest/thigh composite skinfold (r = -0.596, P = 0.012) were negatively correlated with BMI in males suggesting their BMI’s were similar to human body builders. However, BMI and skinfold measurements appear to be an accurate measure of obesity in female chimpanzees. By establishing a baseline for body fat composition in captive chimpanzees, we can track individuals empirically determined to be obese and obesity-related health problems. Further data on diet and nutrition will be important for preventing obesity in captive populations.