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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
Sports Medicine and Traumatology, Sports Psychology
Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,111
ORIGINAL ARTICLES BODY COMPOSITION, NUTRITION
The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2015 September;55(9):946-52
Body composition and cardiac dimensions in elite rhythmic gymnasts
Galetta F. 1, Franzoni F. 1, D’alessandro C. 1, Piazza M. 2, Tocchini L. 1, Fallahi P. 1, Antonelli A. 1, Cupisti F. 1, Santoro G. 1 ✉
1 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy;
2 Department of Anatomy, Histology and Forensic Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
AIM: Rhythmic gymnasts are often believed to be a population at risk of malnutrition because of their tendency to keep a low weight and a lean appearance for better athletic performance, and because they start intensive training at a very young age. The purpose of this study was to evaluate in adolescent elite gymnasts the effects of physical activity on body composition and cardiac morphology and function.
METHODS: Sixteen national level rhythmic gymnasts and 16 control adolescent female underwent anthropometric measurements, bioelectric impedance and echocardiography to assess body composition and cardiac morphology and function.
RESULTS: As compared to controls, gymnasts had lower body mass index (16.9±1.1 vs. 18.7±1.0, P<0.001), fatty mass (14.2±4.5 vs. 15.8±2.9 %, P<0.05) and greater fat-free mass (84.0±4.7 vs. 80.5±5.0 %, P<0.05), left ventricular end-diastolic dimension (4.7±0.4 vs. 4.4±0.3 cm) and left ventricular mass, as absolute (132.8±21.2 vs. 112.5±22.8 g, P<0.01) and indexed (44.5±9.3 vs. 36.1±8.2 g/m2.7, P<0.01). Left ventricular mass was directly related to fat-free mass as absolute (r=0.37, P<0.05) and indexed (r=0.43, P<0.02).
CONCLUSION: Body composition analysis showed a lower percentage of body fat in the gymnasts, together with a higher percentage of fat-free mass. Echocardiographic findings indicate that elite rhythmic gymnastics present left ventricular remodeling as training-induced cardiac adaptation. Intensive training, dietary attitude and evident leanness of rhythmic gymnasts are not associated with cardiac abnormalities, as it is the case of pathological leanness.