Other Subject Area

Sports and Exercise Nutrition


International Journal of Exercise Science 14(6): 324-337, 2021. Compromised bone density in jockeys has previously been identified as an important health and safety concern in horseracing. Despite this, no update on the bone density status in Irish jockeys has been provided in the past decade. The study aimed to conduct a comprehensive update of the current bone density status in professional Irish jockeys and identify possible contributory physical and lifestyle factors. Eighty-five professional male jockeys (flat n = 39; national hunt (NH) n = 46) completed a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan for the assessment of body composition and bone mineral density (BMD) at the lumbar spine (LS), femoral neck (FN) and hip, 24-hour food recall, bone-specific physical activity questionnaire (BPAQ) and lifestyle questionnaire on weight making practices and injury history. Z-scores were interpreted to assess current bone density status. Correlation analysis was used to identify physical and lifestyle factors associated with bone mineral apparent density (BMAD). Results revealed a high prevalence of low BMD (Z-score < - 1.0) at the LS (44%), FN (15%) and hip (29%) in Irish jockeys. Analysis of jockeys physical characteristics found a positive relationship with the LS but not FN BMAD. Riding experience and timing of weight cut in NH and the practice of cutting weight in flat jockeys negatively influenced BMAD sites, while supplement use in flat jockeys displayed a positive effect on LS BMAD. Findings indicate the need for targeted individualised support strategies. Further investigation is required into jockey-specific intervention strategies that promote the development of optimal bone health in professional jockeys.