Bone mineral density and body composition in elite female golf and netball players
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The aim of this study was to compare bone density and body composition measurements in women participating in elite-level netball and golf, two sports with contrasting loading characteristics. Bone mineral density (BMD) and body composition were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in 14 state-level netball players (20.8±3.4 years), 11 single-digit handicap golf players (22.4±2.1 years) and a control group (n=18) not training for sport (22.6±3.6 years). Trunk extensor endurance and grip strength were also measured using the Sorensen test and hand-grip dynamometry respectively. Netball players had significantly higher total body, lumbar spine and hip BMD than the golf players (P<0.001) and control subjects (P<0.001). The golf players had higher BMD than the control subjects only in the lumbar spine (P<0.05). The netball players were significantly taller than the golf players and control group (P<0.01) and had a higher body mass than the control group (P<0.001). After adjustment for body height and mass, the BMD values in the netball players remained significantly higher than the control subjects at all sites (P<0.01), while the golf players had significantly higher lumbar spine BMD than the controls (P<0.05). Elite-level netball participation is associated with increased total body, hip and lumbar spine BMD, while this response was only evident in the lumbar spine in elite golf players. The contrasting loading characteristics of these sports may be reflected in the site-specific differences in BMD when compared to non-athletic control subjects.
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