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Bone Mineral Density in Competitive Athletes
Journal of Exercise and Nutrition
  • Jose Antonio, Ph.D., FNSCA, FISSN, CSCS, Nova Southeastern University
  • Alexander Leaf, University of Western States
  • Cassandra Carson, Nova Southeastern University
  • Anya Ellerbroek, Nova Southeastern University
  • Tobin Silver, Nova Southeastern University
  • Corey Peacock, Nova Southeastern University
  • Pete Bommarito, Bommarito Performance Systems
  • Sarah Knafo, Nova Southeastern University
  • Jaime Tartar, Nova Southeastern University
Document Type
Publication Date
  • body composition,
  • football,
  • MMA,
  • paddling,
  • t-score

Introduction: The purpose of this investigation was to characterize the bone mineral density in a wide variety of competitive athletes.

Methods: A cohort of 135 athletes was assessed for body composition via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). These included professional mixed martial arts fighters (MMA), elite stand-up paddlers, collegiate football players, collegiate swimmers, collegiate track and field athletes, collegiate and world-class distance runners as well as a group of men and women who participated in regular heavy resistance training.

Results: In general, bone mineral density (BMD) as determined by the T-score was highest in mixed martial arts fighters (T-score = 3.1 ± 0.9) and football players (T-score = 2.7 ± 0.7) followed by resistance-trained (RT) males (T-score = 1.9 ± 1.2). RT males had a greater average T-score than RT females (T-score 1.5 ± 1.3). Based on the data from this investigation, we conclude that RT males have greater BMD as determined by the T-score than RT females. Also, MMA fighters and football players are unique in that they tend to demonstrate very high BMD (1.57 ± 0.10 and 1.60 ± 0.12 g/cm2 , respectively) with a concomitantly high T-score.

Conclusions: It is evident that the high-impact nature of football and MMA competition is conducive to producing very high bone mineral densities. However, inasmuch as this investigation is cross-sectional in nature, it is not clear if athletes are self-selected for higher bone mineral density and/or if it is the result of years of training in their respective sport.

Citation Information
Jose Antonio, Alexander Leaf, Cassandra Carson, Anya Ellerbroek, et al.. "Bone Mineral Density in Competitive Athletes" Journal of Exercise and Nutrition Vol. 1 Iss. 2 (2018) p. 1 - 11
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