Body Fat Distribution Of Top Women Athletes In Different Team Sports According To Their Playing Position

Por: A. Fachantidou, A. Kasabalis, G. Giatsis, G. K. Gallos, S. D. Papadopoulou e S. K. Papadopoulou.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction
There is a negative correlation between body fat and performance, especially among sports that require explosive
horizontal and vertical movements (5). The purpose of the study was to analyze the body fat distribution among elite
female athletes from three different team sports in relation to their position in the game.

Methods
40 Greek National team women athletes were recorded (age: 24.1±3.1 yrs, training age: 11.8±2.4 yrs, mass: 70.8±8.2 kg
and height: 178.6±7.4 cm). 14 of them were Volleyball players (VB) (3 setter, 3 center, 3 ace, 4 utility and 1 libero), 12
Basketball players (BB) (3 playmaker, 3 guard, 4 forward and 2 center) and 14 Handball players (HB) (3 playmaker, 3
inter, 5 extreme 2 pivot and 1 goalkeeper). The skinfold method was used to estimate body fat percentage (%BF),
according to the equation of Jackson et al. (1980) (3). The SPSS 10.0 computer program was used for the statistical
analysis. Statistical significance was set at p<.05.

Results
The results indicated that the VB and BB elite athletes showed significantly (p<.05) higher values in BF (21.2±4.4%
and 20.3±4.3% respectively) compared to the HB ones(15.6±4.2%) ones. The average body fat of all athletes was
18.9±4.9%. Body Fat distribution of the top athletes of the three team sports according to their playing position is shown in figure 1.

Discussion/Conclusions
Body fat levels of VB, BB and HB top athletes in relation to their game position ranged from 17.7-26.4%, 19.4-21.3%
and 12.9-19.4% respectively. This finding comes in contradiction with the literature view especially for VB and BB
female athletes (1,2). Utility (17.7%) and ace (26.4%) VB players, playmaker (19.4%) and forward (21.3%) BB players
and pivot (12.7%) and playmaker (19.4%) HB players presented the lowest and highest values in body fat respectively.
Top VB and BB female athletes where not in line with the %BF expected at their level, a fact that did not occur for the
HB ones (4). %BF differed according to the athletes’ specialization in the game however lower fat values were expected
for certain playing positions. Most Greek National team women athletes of team sports should have scientific
nutritional support.

References
(1)Carter J.E.L. et al. (1994). Proceedings for the10th Commonwealth and International Scientific
Congress, Victoria, B.C., Canada
(2)Gallos G. (1999). Body fat distribution of Greek team sport athletes. Ph.D. Dissertation, Greece
(3)Jackson A.S. et al. (1980). Med Sci Sports Exerc 12: 175-182
(4)Papadopoulou S.K. et al (2002). Int J of Sports Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, 12: 73-80
(5) Wilmore J.H. (1982). Training for sport and activity: the physiological basis of the conditioning process (2nd Edition) Boston: Allyn and Bacon

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