Reference Values and Sensitivity for Different Body Fat Variables Measured by Bioimpedance Method in Female Athletes in Individual Sports: Discriminative and Comparative Study

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Dopsaj Milivoj; Siljeg Klara & Milic Radoje


Athletes differ among themselves and one of the main differences is observed in relation to body shape and composition. Achieving top sports performance requires more standardization in the processes of training and development of a unique methodology for individualizing the control specific adaptation of athletes. The aim of this study is to establish reference data for the most sensitive variables to define the amount and structure of body fat in female athletes in individual sports. The sample included 895 females, divided in: a control group (Cont) of young females (N = 688); International (N = 113), and National level female athletes (N = 94) in 13 individual sports. Four variables described the structureof of body fat: Percentage of body fat (PBF), Body Fat Mass Index (BFMI), Protein Fat Index (PFI) and Index of Body Composition (IBC). Results showed that considering the control group, female athletes have all examined Body Fat variables statistically significantly different (BFMI and PBF are lower, p = 0.011 and p = 0.000, while PFI and IBC are higher, p = 0.000, respectively). Female athletes are also statistically significantly different in relation to the level of competition (p = 0.000), and the investigated variables are responsible for 17.7 % of the variability of the difference between the groups. Competitively more successful female athletes have higher IBC (lower percentage of fat per overall body volume, p = 0.013), as well as, a statistically significantly higher protein mass in relation to body fat mass (PFI, p = 0.018). The most sensitive variables for defining body fat differences between the examined individual sports were IBC, with an influence of 37.9 %, then PFI (32.4 %), then PBF (22.8 %), and finally BFMI, with an influence of 11.4 % on the differences. Based on the results of this study, IBC and PFI are variables that have shown useful scientific-methodological potential for research in the future.

KEY WORDS: Bioimpedance; Female athletes; Body fat status; Index of Body Composition; Protein Fat Index.

How to cite this article

DOPSAJ, M.; SILJEG, K. & MILIC, R. Reference values and sensitivity for different body fat variables measured by bioimpedance method in female athletes in individual sports: discriminative and comparative study. Int. J. Morphol., 41(3):717-724, 2023.