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"Medicina Sportiva" No.14 - 2008 The 15-th Sports Medicine Balkan Congress


Caner Açıkada
Hacettepe University, School of Sport Sciences and Technology Beytepe, Ankara, Turkey

Body composition is often questioned in athletes as in normal population at large. Fat body mass and fat free mass are two important components of body composition. Importance of body composition in athlete population is important in evaluation of the effectiveness of training, the level of training, the form, in weight category sports (wrestling, judo, box, weight lifting, etc.) to determine the competitive weight and the method of body weight control and loss.
There are direct and indirect methods of body composition determination. Direct methods are used on human and animal cadavers with some chemical approaches in order to determine the amount of different tissues in the body, and, therefore, they are not used on living bodies. Among indirect methods hydrostatic weighing, anthropometric methods, bioelectric impedance methods, infrared interactance, and some part or whole body counter methods such as DEXA. Direct methods have high validity, and are used to validate indirect methods. In athlete population more frequently indirect methods are used. Indirect methods are developed by using a reference method, and besides direct methods, some indirect methods are also used as reference methods. It is important to notice that the population used as reference during the process of development of the indirect methods, can be the source of error. Most frequently used methods in field situation in determining body composition are anthropometric and bioelectric impedance methods. The main source of error in these methods may arise from non athlete reference population in the development of the methodology. In heterogenic population the range of standard error of estimation (SEE) may be high. High SEE may be a limiting factor in monitoring the training effect in athlete population. In bioelectric impedance methods the time of the day during the measurement, state of hydration of the subject are the most important sources of error. In anthropometric methods the differences in the determination of the measurement site, the reliability of the measuring instruments, expertise level of the measurer, test hour of the repeating tests are the main sources of error.

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