Body fat percentage comparisons between four methods in young football players: are they comparable?

Gabriel Lozano Berges, Ángel Matute Llorente, Alejandro Gómez Bruton, Alejandro González Agüero, German Vicente Rodríguez, José Antonio Casajús


Introduction: Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), air displacement plethysmography (ADP), bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and anthropometry are four body composition methods that have been frequently used for the assessment of body fat percentage (%BF) in athletes. However, the
agreement between these methods has not been studied yet in adolescent football players.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare %BF calculated by DXA, ADP, BIA and anthropometry in 92 participants.

Methods: Sixty-four males (13.4 ± 0.6 years of age) and 28 females (13.4 ± 0.6 years) participated in this study. %BF was measured with four methods: DXA, ADP, BIA, and anthropometry. ADP %BF was calculated by using Siri’s equation. The equation proposed by Slaughter et al. was used to calculate %BF by anthropometry. Paired t-test was used to compare %BF means. The heteroscedasticity was calculated by Bland-Altman analyses.

Results and conclusions: Both in males and females, DXA, ADP, BIA and Slaughter et al. equation demonstrated significant %BF differences when
compared to each other (p < 0.05); 95% limits of agreements ranged from 5.13 to 15.09% points. Only BIA showed heteroscedasticity compared to the other methods in both genders (p < 0.05). Although DXA, ADP, BIA, and anthropometry have been used in the scientific literature in order to assess %BF in adolescent football players, these results demonstrate that these body composition methods are not interchangeable in this population.


Palabras clave

Soccer; Body composition; Absorptiometry, Photon; Skinfold Thickness.

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