Validation of Field Methods to Assess Body Fat Percentage in Elite Youth Soccer Players

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Diego Munguia-Izquierdo, Luis Suarez-Arrones, Valter Di Salvo, Victor Paredes-Hernandez, Julian Alcazar, Ignacio Ara, Richard Kreider, Alberto Mendez-Villanueva  Int J Sports Med.  E-pub.  DOI: 10.1055/s-0044-101145


This study determined the most effective field method for quantifying body fat percentage in male elite youth soccer players and developed prediction equations based on anthropometric variables. Forty-four male elite-standard youth soccer players aged 16.3–18.0 years underwent body fat percentage assessments, including bioelectrical impedance analysis and the calculation of various skinfold-based prediction equations. Dual X-ray absorptiometry provided a criterion measure of body fat percentage. Correlation coefficients, bias, limits of agreement, and differences were used as validity measures, and regression analyses were used to develop soccer-specific prediction equations. The equations from Sarria et al. (1998) and Durnin & Rahaman (1967) reached very large correlations and the lowest biases, and they reached neither the practically worthwhile difference nor the substantial difference between methods. The new youth soccer-specific skinfold equation included a combination of triceps and supraspinale skinfolds. None of the practical methods compared in this study are adequate for estimating body fat percentage in male elite youth soccer players, except for the equations from Sarria et al. (1998) and Durnin & Rahaman (1967). The new youth soccer-specific equation calculated in this investigation is the only field method specifically developed and validated in elite male players, and it shows potentially good predictive power.

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