Archive for the 'Body Composition Research' Category

The Dangers of The Female Athlete Triad

Female Athlete Triad TriangleThe Female Athlete Triad is a health concern for active females who are driven to excel in sports.  It involves three distinct and interrelated conditions:[1] energy deficiency, amenorrhea (irregular or missed menstrual cycles), and osteoporosis (weak bones) causing fractures and density irregularities1. While having just one of these components is bad enough, these conditions can often lead to a domino effect of health concerns.

tired woman runner taking a rest after running hard on city road

Women often face social and coaching pressures to stay skinny and lean for their sport, in addition to the unspoken competitiveness’ that adds pressure to be thin. This has been shown to be a major factor in the development of an eating disorder2. Eating disorders are chronic physical and psychological illnesses that require immediate attention. Anorexia and bulimia can cause death resulting from heart attack, blood electrolyte disorders, suicide, and many other conditions resulting from not eating2.

While most athletes do not fit the exact definition of an eating disorder, many follow the same habits. Binge eating and purging, starvation, and the use of diet pills will cause the person to worsen the energy deficiency condition. Participating in these deadly practices does not leave your body with enough energy to perform its normal functions, including menstruation. Any female who has missed three consecutive cycles should be evaluated immediately2. Leaving a condition like this unattended can cause infertility. It has been shown that menstruating athletes gain about 2 – 4% of bone mass per year, whereas amenorrheic athletes can lose 2% of their bone mass4. Low estrogen levels, a direct result of amenorrhea (menstrual abnormalities), can cause the deterioration of bone structure (osteoporosis)2. This comes as a direct result of lack of menses. A women in her early 20’s suffering from this condition can have a bone structure equivalent to that of a 70 year old women2.Ostheoperosis

Possibly the biggest problems physicians and specialists face when dealing with the female athlete triad is the initial diagnosis of the condition3. Ideally, screening for elements of the female athlete triad should happen at annual check ups or preparticipation screenings. It is important for female athletes to be knowledgeable about the causes and symptoms relating to the condition. Be sure to consult a primary care physician and a registered dietitian that incorporates body composition analysis into their assessment. Analyzers such as the mBCA 514 and mBCA 525 have been proven to give  precise body composition measurements that will aid healthcare professionals by providing an in-depth assessment. Parameters such a body fat, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), skeletal muscle mass and body water can be evaluated and monitored to assure that the best dietary game plan is in place.  While there may be some reluctance to seek care, it’s important to remind the athlete that medical advice and proper nutrition may enhance performance and their overall well-being.

[1]Emily Southmayd. The Female Athlete Triad. Salt Lake City: Emily Southmayd, n.d. Print.

2Annie Spencer. ACSM Information On… The Female Athlete Triad. Indianapolis: Annie Spencer, n.d. Print

3Nazem, Taraneh G., and Kathryn E. Ackerman. “The Female Athlete Triad.” Sports Health 4 July 2012: 302-11. Print.

4Gottschlich, Laura M. “Female Athlete Triad.” MedScape. Ed. Craig C. Young. WebMD LLC, 17 Dec. 2014. Web. 8 Aug. 2016.

 

FMI possibly more useful than BMI for rapid assessment of Metabolic syndrome

metabolic syndrome

An interesting, limited study published this year observes higher Fat Mass Index (FMI) levels appear to be independently and positively associated with the presence of Metabolic syndrome (MetS) regardless of Body Mass Index (BMI) and body fat percentage (BF%). FMI appears to be a better screening tool in prediction of the presence of metabolic syndrome than BMI and percentage of body fat in men and women.¹  Please note that due to the cross-sectional design, the study itself is not exploring a causal relationship between body composition and metabolic syndrome, and is limited in that it did not include a variety of ethnic groups in the cohort.

Along with the growing popularity and proven accuracy of bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) technology for the measurement of body composition, BMI is still widely used for the rapid assessment of obesity, and is easily calculated. However, it cannot reflect body fat mass and body fat distribution due to the differences of age, sex and ethnic groups and obese types when BMI is used alone. Although some studies [2,3] found that high BF% was associated with increased cardiovascular risk regardless of BMI whose categorization resulted in an underestimation of subjects with cardiovascular risk factors, people with the same BMI reading may have very different body composition, which may result in people with the same BMI or percentage of body fat exposing to different metabolic conditions.  Therefore, it can be better to measure and express body composition as FMI and Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI) than either BMI or BF%.

The study showed that high FMI had significantly higher odds ratio for metabolic syndrome than the low FMI in both sexes, which was similar to one previous study⁴, in which body composition was measured by DeXA. This study also showed that high FMI level was strongly associated with the presence of MetS after adjusting BMI and BF% in both men and women, and the adjusted odds ratios of the risk of MetS were higher than that of BMI and BF.

References

 ¹Liu, Pengju et al. “The Utility of Fat Mass Index vs. Body Mass Index and Percentage of Body Fat in the Screening of Metabolic Syndrome.”

BMC Public Health 13 (2013): 629. PMC. Web. 1 June 2016.

 ²Zeng Q, Dong SY, Sun XN, Xie J, Cui Y. Percent body fat is a better predictor of cardiovascular risk factors than body mass index. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2012;45:591–600. doi: 10.1590/S0100-879X2012007500059.

³Cho YG, Song HJ, Kim JM, Park KH, Paek YJ, Cho JJ, Caterson I, Kang JG. The estimation of cardiovascular risk factors by body mass index and body fat percentage in Korean male adults. Metabolism. 2009;58:765–771. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2009.01.004.

Wang J, Rennie KL, Gu W, Li H, Yu Z, Lin X. Independent associations of body-size adjusted fat mass and fat-free mass with the metabolic syndrome in Chinese. Ann Hum Biol. 2009;36:110–121. doi: 10.1080/03014460802585079.