Jelena Popadiã Gaãea*, Otto Barak, Dea Karaba Jakovljevic, Aleksandar Klanja, Vladimir Galiã, Miodrag Drapin, Damir Lukac and Nikola Grujic, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
The aim of this study was to evaluate body fat content (BF) of elite athletes obtained by two
different field methods for body composition measurements and to compare it with body mass
index (BMI) values. The research was conducted on 40 male athletes (20 runners and 20
handball players) and 30 non athletes. BF was calculated from the skinfold values (BFsft) and
estimated using a hand-held impedance analyzer (BFbia%). Body mass index, waist to hip ratio
(WHR) and waist to stature ratio (WSR) were calculated from adequate anthropometric values.
Comparing the BF content between non athletes and two different sport groups, significant
difference was found in all parameters between runners and non athletes (p < 0.05). Significant
difference was found between BF values of runners and handball players (p < 0.05). Runners
have had significantly lower BF, estimated by both methods. They also have had significantly
lower WHR and WSR (p < 0.05). In the group of athletes and non athletes with BMI higher than
25 kg/m2, or lower than 20 kg/m2, comparing with others, no significant difference was found in
BFsft and WHR. BMI is not a good predictor of BF, because it does not provide specific
information about body fatness, but rather body heaviness. Bioimpedance and anthropometry
methods could be used to monitor non obese subjects in clinical routine and population based
studies. For BF estimation in athletes, we recommend anthropometry, rather than bioimpedance
because of inter individual and inter sports variations in arms length and regional masculinity.
Keywords: body fat, BMI, body composition, anthropometry, athletes
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