William Sheldon's Theory of Body Types

About William Sheldon's theory and system of classifying body types, the classes of endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph, growth and layers.

Body Types

In 1940, William H. Sheldon created a system of classifying body types based on the 3 layers of cells in the developing embryo: endoderm--the inner layer, which develops into the digestive organs; mesoderm--the middle layer, which develops into the skeleton, muscles, and circulatory system; ectoderm--the outer layer, which develops into the skin, hair, nails, and nervous system.

His theory states that these layers develop differently in each person. In some people, one layer predominates, and in others the layers are more balanced. The body types are: 1. Endomorph--soft body with bulges in places. This type has strong muscles, but it is difficult to see the difference between the muscles and fat until they are squeezed. 2. Mesomorph--well-developed muscles in neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, buttocks, arms, and legs. This type has large bones and a great need for physical activity. 3. Ectomorph--thin and wiry ("a lean and hungry look"), small bones, thin chest and prominent ribs, flat stomach, and small buttocks. The arms and legs tend to be long in proportion to the body. This type has a highly developed nervous system and is usually very active.

Q. Which part of the body grows faster than any other part and never stops growing, even though it never gets any bigger once it has reached its full size?

A. The human skin.

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