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Body Composition and Muscular Strength in Elite Competitive Athletes and Healthy Controls Aged 65 and Older

Hunt, Sarah Elizabeth (2007) Body Composition and Muscular Strength in Elite Competitive Athletes and Healthy Controls Aged 65 and Older. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine if components of body composition differ between elite competitive older athletes and community-dwelling ambulatory controls and to examine the relationships between the components of body composition and the relationship between the components and strength.Methods: One-hundred Senior Athletes from the 2005 National Senior Games and 86 healthy controls participated. Body composition was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The DXA scans provided measures of bone mineral density (BMD), bone mass, mineral free lean mass percentage (MFLP), and fat mass percentage (FMP) including regional measures (trunk, legs and arms) of body composition. Isometric strength of the quadriceps and hamstrings was measured. Results: One factor ANOVAs (á=.05) were performed to assess regional FMP and regional MFLP. Controls had a significantly higher FMP in every body region than athletes. Athletes had a significantly higher MFLP of the arm and leg than controls. Correlational analyses (á=.05) were also performed to examine the relationship between MFLP and strength, MFLP and BMD, and FMP and BMD. Athletes had a stronger correlation between flexion strength values and MFLP of the leg and Controls showed a stronger correlation between extension strength values and MFLP of the leg. Significant correlations were found for the relationship between MFLP and BMD, with stronger correlations in the athlete group. Significant correlations between BMD and FMP were found in all regions except the trunk for all groups.Discussion: Our predominant findings were that, as expected, all regional measures of body fat were higher in control subjects than in athletes. This study showed that all regional measures of lean muscle mass were greater in athletes than in control subjects. This indicates that physical activity may help to prevent the decrements associated with the aging process even well in to the 7th decade of life.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hunt, Sarah
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMcCrory, Jean L
Committee MemberGoss, Fredric
Committee MemberRobertson, Robert
Committee MemberGreenspan, Susan L
Date: 27 September 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 18 July 2007
Approval Date: 27 September 2007
Submission Date: 27 July 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health, Physical, Recreational Education
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: DXA
Other ID:, etd-07272007-191357
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:54
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:47


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