International Journal of Exercise Science 11(4): 417-424, 2018. This study compared body composition measurements in lean female athletes. The primary objective was to compare the accuracy of percent body fat (%BF) determined by bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), air-displacement plethysmography (ADP), and underwater weighing (UWW) in female Division I cheerleaders (n = 10 bases, 6 back-spots, and 12 flyers) from two universities. The secondary objective was to compare health risk predicted by %BF to body mass index (BMI) categorizations. UWW was considered the gold standard for assessing %BF. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine associations between methods. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to identify differences in %BF by method. BIA, ADP, and UWW were highly correlated (r ≥ .828, p < .001 for all). However, %BF by BIA (20.0 ± 5.2%) and ADP (19.3 ± 6.0%) was higher than %BF by UWW (15.9 ± 4.1%, p < .001). Health risk was predicted less often when classified based on very lean (risky low) %BF levels by BIA and ADP than UWW (7.1%, 3.6%, and 21.4%, respectively). This finding suggests that, similar to female track-and-field athletes who also exhibit lean muscular physiques, %BF is overestimated by BIA and ADP in female cheerleaders and health risk associated with low %BF is underestimated when compared to UWW. In contrast, BMI was not associated with %BF by any method and no participants were classified as underweight by this measure. Thus, BMI should not be used to predict health risk in lean female athletes, such as collegiate cheerleaders.
Houska, Carly L.; Kemp, Jessica D.; Niles, Jamal S.; Morgan, Amy; Tucker, Robin M.; and Ludy, Mary-Jon
"Comparison of Body Composition Measurements in Lean Female Athletes,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 11
4, Pages 417 - 424.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol11/iss4/7