A prospective study of bone mass and body composition in female adolescent gymnasts

Emma M. Laing, Jennifer A. Massoni, Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson, Christopher M. Modlesky, Patrick J. O'Connor, Richard D. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine changes in bone and body composition of adolescent female artistic gymnasts (GYM; n = 7), level 5+, compared with nongymnast controls (CON; n = 10) over 3 years. Study design: Areal bone mineral density (aBMD; g/cm2), bone mineral content (BMC; g) and bone area (cm2), of the total body (TB), total proximal femur (TPF), trochanter (Tr), femoral neck, lumbar spine (LS), and distal radius were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Fat-free soft tissue mass (FFST; g), fat mass (g), and percent body fat (%FAT) were also assessed. Results: No initial differences in height or weight between GYM and CON were observed, and both groups demonstrated parallel increases in these parameters over time (P < .05; h2 ≥0.15). At baseline, GYM possessed significantly lower %FAT and higher aBMD at all sites (except TB; P < .05; h2 ≥0.15). Over 3 years, GYM increased more than CON (P < .05; η2 ≥0.15) in TB, Tr, and TPF aBMD, TB and LS BMC, and FFST. Conclusion: Female adolescents participating in competitive artistic gymnastics training over 3 years have enhanced rates of aBMD, BMC and FFST accrual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-216
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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