"Health-related anthropometric characteristics in gymnasts of the XIII World Gymnaestrada - Dornbirn, Austria 2007 - a cross- sectional epidemiological study"

Clijsen, Ron and Taeymans, Jan and Aerenhouts , Dirk and Clarys, Peter and Hebbelinck, Marcel and Cabri, Jan (2010) "Health-related anthropometric characteristics in gymnasts of the XIII World Gymnaestrada - Dornbirn, Austria 2007 - a cross- sectional epidemiological study". In: ISAK 2010 World Conference, 11-12 November 2010, Estoril Portugal.

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Abstract

Aim: The aim of this study was to describe the specific health-related anthropometric characteristics in a large sample of physically active 10 to 90 year old subjects. Methods: In 2007, 1273 of the 25000 gymnasts participating in the «XIII World Gymnaestrada» (Dornbirn, Austria) were recruited on-site and volunteered in this study (325 males and 948 females). Anthropometry was conducted following the guidelines of the «International Society for the Advancement in Kinanthropometry» (ISAK, 2001), measuring body height, weight, hip and waist circumference and triceps-, subscapular-, supraspinal- and calf skinfolds, allowing the calculation of body mass index, waist to hip ratio and sum of skin folds. Static strength of the upper extremity was tested using a handgrip dynamometer. The total sample was stratified in age categories (15.0–24.9, 25.0–34.9, 35.0–44.9, 45.0–54.9, 55.0–64.9, 65.0–74.9, 75.0–90). A one-sample t-test was used to compare the results with the reference data of a general population (Steens, 2006). Significance was set at the 5% level of confidence. Results: In the total sample (n = 1273) males (42.4±17.5 years) were younger than females (45.6±18.0 years), (p=0.005). For most of the age groups and for both genders, body mass index of the gymnasts was significantly higher compared to the reference data. For both genders and most of the age groups, hip and waist girths were significantly lower compared to the reference values. For all age groups, the waist to hip ratio of the gymnasts was significantly lower compared to the reference population in both genders. The sum of skinfolds as an indicator of adiposity was lower for male and female gymnasts in all age groups. In all age groups and in both genders, mean static strength values of gymnasts were higher compared to the reference values observed in the general population. Discussion: The higher body mass index, the lower waist to hip ratio, the sum of skin folds, and the higher static strength values of the gymnast compared to the reference population indicate a high degree of muscularity in favour of the gymnasts. Regular involvement in gymnastic activities typically results in the development and maintenance of strength and muscularity. Hence, these participants may be better protected against age-related health problems such as sarcopenia. References: Steens G (Editor). Moet er nog sport zijn? Sport, beweging en gezondheid in Vlaanderen 2002-2006. F&G Partners, Antwerpen, 2006.

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