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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


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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 Nov 07

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07941-5

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Comparison of body fat percentage of male soccer players of different competitive levels, playing positions and age groups: a meta-analysis

Maamer SLIMANI 1 , Hela ZNAZEN 1, Amri HAMMAMI 2, Nicola L. BRAGAZZI 3, 4

1 Research Laboratory ‘‘Sport Performance Optimization’’, National Centre of Medicine and Science in Sport (CNMSS), El Menzah, Tunisia; 2 Laboratory of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine Sousse, Sousse, Tunisia; 3 School of Public Health, Department of Health Sciences (DISSAL), Genoa University, Genoa, Italy; 4 Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health (DINOGMI), Section of Psychiatry, Genoa University, Genoa, Italy


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INTRODUCTION: The aim of the present meta-analysis was to compare the body fat percentage (%) between male soccer players of different competitive levels, playing positions and age groups.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: The systematic search was conducted using different databases and according to the Population/Intervention or Exposure/Comparison/Outcome(s) [PICO] criteria.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Higher % values of body fat in lower-level soccer players than higher-level counterparts (ES=0.18, 95% CI -0.86 to -0.14, p=0.006) were noted. Higher body fat % values in goalkeepers than defenders (ES=0.21, 95% CI -1.17 to -0.34, p<0.001), midfielders (ES=0.26, 95% CI -1.50 to -0.45, p<0.001) and forwards (ES=0.18, 95% CI -1.26 to -0.53, p<0.001) were observed. There was no significant association between % of body fat and age (p=0.86).
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, body fat % clearly distinguished higher- from lower-level soccer players. These findings also imply that body fat % differ as a function of positional role in soccer and that sports scientists, coaches, and strength and conditioning professionals need to be aware of the specific positional requirements in soccer in terms of body fat. However, due to some limitations of the present meta-analysis (high statistically significant heterogeneity and evidence of publication bias), further studies are urgently needed in the field.


KEY WORDS: Anthropometric - Meta-analysis - Position - Age - Soccer

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Publication History

Article first published online: November 07, 2017
Manuscript accepted: September 22, 2017
Manuscript revised: September 6, 2017
Manuscript received: July 9, 2017

Cite this article as

Slimani M, Znazen H, Hammami A, Bragazzi NL. Comparison of body fat percentage of male soccer players of different competitive levels, playing positions and age groups: a meta-analysis. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2017 Nov 07. DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07941-5

Corresponding author e-mail

maamer2011@hotmail.fr