Competitive Performance of Kenyan Runners Compared to their Relative Body Weight and Fat
Body fat values obtained with various measurement methods deviate substantially in many cases. The standardised brightness-mode ultrasound method was used in 32 Kenyan elite long-distance runners to measure subcutaneous adipose tissue thicknesses at an accuracy and reliability level not reached by any other method. Subcutaneous adipose tissue forms the dominating part of body fat. Additionally, body mass (m), height (h), sitting height (s), leg length, and the mass index MI1 =0.53m/(hs) were determined. MI1 considers leg length, which the body mass index ignores. MI1 values of all participants were higher than their body mass indices. Both indices for relative body weight were within narrow ranges, although thickness sums of subcutaneous adipose tissue deviated strongly (women: 20–82 mm; men: 3–36 mm). Men had 2.1 times more embedded fasciae in the subcutaneous adipose tissue. In the subgroup with personal best times below world record time plus 10%, no correlation between performance and body mass index was found, and there was also no correlation with sums of subcutaneous adipose tissue thicknesses. Within the data ranges found here, extremely low relative body weight or low body fat were no criteria for the level of performance, therefore, pressure towards too low values may be disadvantageous.
Key wordsultrasound imaging - subcutaneous fat - body mass index - marathon - anthropometry - sexual dimorphism
Received: 13 January 2020
Accepted: 09 September 2020
14 October 2020 (online)
© 2020. Thieme. All rights reserved.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany
- 1 Slater G, O’Connor H, Kerr A. Optimising physique for sports performance. In Hume P, Kerr DA, Ackland TR. Best Practice Protocols for Physique Assessment in Sport. Springer Nature Singapore; 2018: 27-36. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-10-5418-1_3
- 2 Ackland TR, Lohman TG, Sundgot-Borgen J. et al. Current status of body composition assessment in sport: review and position statement on behalf of the ad hoc research working group on body composition health and performance, under the auspices of the I.O.C. Medical Commission. Sports Med 2012; 42: 227-249. DOI: 10.2165/11597140-000000000-00000.
- 3 Burke LM, Close GL, Lundy B. et al. Relative energy deficiency in sport in male athletes: A commentary on its presentation among selected groups of male athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2018; 28: 364-374. DOI: 10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0182.
- 4 Tornberg AB, Melin A, Koivula FM. et al. Reduced neuromuscular performance in amenorrheic elite endurance athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2017; 49: 2478-2485. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001383.
- 5 Mountjoy M, Sundgot-Borgen J, Burke L. et al. International Olympic Committee (IOC) Consensus Statement on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S): 2018 Update. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2018; 28: 316-331. DOI: 10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0136.
- 6 Sundgot-Borgen J, Meyer NL, Lohman TG. et al. How to minimise the health risks to athletes who compete in weight-sensitive sports review and position statement on behalf of the Ad Hoc Research Working Group on Body Composition, Health and Performance, under the auspices of the IOC Medical Commission. Br J Sports Med 2013; 47: 1012-1022. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092966.
- 7 Meyer NL, Sundgot-Borgen J, Lohman TG. et al. Body composition for health and performance: a survey of body composition assessment practice carried out by the Ad Hoc Research Working Group on Body Composition, Health and Performance under the auspices of the IOC Medical Commission. Br J Sports Med 2013; 47: 1044-1053. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092561.
- 8 Hume P, Kerr D, Ackland TR. Best Practice Protocols for Physique Assessment in Sport. Springer; Singapore: 2018. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-5418-1
- 9 Adams J, Mottola M, Bagnall KM. et al. Total body fat content in a group of professional football players. Can J Appl Sport Sci 1982; 7: 36-40
- 10 Stewart AD, Hannan WJ. Prediction of fat and fat-free mass in male athletes using dual X-ray absorptiometry as the reference method. J Sports Sci 2000; 18: 263-274 doi:10.1080/026404100365009
- 11 Müller W, Horn M, Fürhapter-Rieger A. et al. Body composition in sport: Interobserver reliability of a novel ultrasound measure of subcutaneous fat tissue. Br J Sports Med 2013; 47: 1036-1043. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092233.
- 12 Müller W, Horn M, Fürhapter-Rieger A. et al. Body composition in sport: A comparison of a novel ultrasound imaging technique to measure subcutaneous fat tissue compared with skinfold measurement. Br J Sports Med 2013; 47: 1028-1035. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092232.
- 13 Müller W, Maughan RJ. The need for a novel approach to measure body composition: Is ultrasound an answer?. Br J Sports Med 2013; 47: 1001-1002 doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092882
- 14 Müller W, Lohman TG, Stewart AD. et al. Subcutaneous fat patterning in athletes: selection of appropriate sites and standardisation of a novel ultrasound measurement technique: ad hoc working group on body composition, health and performance, under the auspices of the IOC Medical Commission. Br J Sports Med 2016; 50: 45-54. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095641.
- 15 Störchle P, Müller W, Sengeis M. et al. Standardized ultrasound measurement of subcutaneous fat patterning: High reliability and accuracy in groups ranging from lean to obese. Ultrasound Med Biol 2017; 43: 427-438. DOI: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2016.09.014.
- 16 Müller W, Fürhapter-Rieger A, Ahammer H. et al. Relative body weight and standardised brightness-mode ultrasound measurement of subcutaneous fat in athletes: An international multicentre reliability study, under the auspices of the IOC medical Commission. Sports Med 2020; 50: 597-614. DOI: 10.1007/s40279-019-01192-9.
- 17 Lackner S, Mörkl S, Müller W. et al. Novel approaches for the assessment of relative body weight and body fat in diagnosis and treatment of anorexia nervosa: A cross-sectional study. Clin Nutr (Edinburgh, Scotland) 2019; 38: 2913-2921. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.12.031.
- 18 Abe T, Loenneke JP, Thiebaud RS. An ultrasound prediction equation to estimate DXA-derived body fatness for middle-aged and older caucasian adults. J Frailty Aging 2019; 8: 79-84 doi:10.14283/jfa.2019.8
- 19 Wajchenberg BL. Subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue: Their relation to the metabolic syndrome. Endocr Rev 2000; 21: 697-738. doi:10.1210/edrv.21.6.0415
- 20 Herman IP. Sound, speech, and hearing. In: Herman IP. Physics of the Human Body. 2nd. Aufl. Switzerland: Springer International; 2016: 657-730
- 21 Schmitt S, Günther M. Human leg impact: Energy dissipation of wobbling masses. Arch Appl Mech 2011; 81: 887-897 doi:10.1007/s00419-010-0458-z
- 22 Brooks GA, Fahey TD, Baldwin KM. Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2005: 154
- 23 Nattiv A, Lynch L. The female athlete triad. Phys Sportsmed 1994; 22: 60-68. doi:10.1080/00913847.1994.11710446
- 24 World Health Organization (WHO). Physical Status: The Use and Interpretation of Anthropometry. Report of a WHO Expert Committee. In, World Health Organization technical report series. 1995/01/01 ed 1995: 355
- 25 Müller W. Determinants of ski-jump performance and implications for health, safety and fairness. Sports Med 2009; 39: 85-106. doi:10.2165/00007256-200939020-00001
- 26 Müller W. Towards research-based approaches for solving body composition problems in sports: Ski jumping as a heuristic example. Br J Sports Med 2009; 43: 1013-1019 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2009.068775
- 27 Müller W, Gröschl W, Müller R. et al. Underweight in ski jumping: The solution of the problem. Int J Sports Med 2006; 27: 926-934. DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-923844.
- 28 Ackland TR, Müller W. Imaging method: Ultrasound. In: Hume PA, Kerr DA, Ackland TR. Best Practice Protocols for Physique Assessment in Sport. Singapore: Springer; 2018: 131-141
- 29 Sengeis M, Müller W, Störchle P. et al. Body weight and subcutaneous fat patterning in elite judokas. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2019; 29: 1774-1788. DOI: 10.1111/sms.13508.
- 30 Kelso A, Trajer E, Machus K. et al. Assessment of subcutaneous adipose tissue using ultrasound in highly trained junior rowers. Eur J Sports Sci 2017; 17: 576-585. DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2016.1277788.
- 31 Harriss DJ, MacSween A, Atkinson G. Ethical standards in sport and exercise science research: 2020 update. Int J Sports Med 2019; 40: 813-817. doi:10.1055/a-1015-3123
- 32 Stewart AD, Marfell-Jones M, Olds T. et al. International Standards for Anthropometric Assessment. Lower Hutt, New Zealand: International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry; 2011
- 33 In. World Health Organisation. International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision. Fifth edition. World Health Organisation; 2016. Available at https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/246208
- 34 Larsen HB, Christensen DL, Nolan T. et al. Body dimensions, exercise capacity and physical activity level of adolescent Nandi boys in western Kenya. Ann Hum Biol 2004; 31: 159-173. DOI: 10.1080/03014460410001663416.
- 35 Mooses M, Hackney AC. Anthropometrics and body composition in east african runners: Potential impact on performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 2017; 12: 422-430. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2016-0408
- 36 World Health Organization (WHO). Physical status: The use and interpretation of anthropometry. Report of a WHO Expert Committee. World Health Organization Technical Report Series; 1995. 854. 329
- 37 Trayhurn P, Beattie JH. Physiological role of adipose tissue: White adipose tissue as an endocrine and secretory organ. Proc Nutr Soc 2001; 60: 329-339. doi:10.1079/pns200194
- 38 Hamilton B. East African running dominance: what is behind it?. Br J Sports Med 2000; 34: 391-394
- 39 Nattiv A, Loucks AB, Manore MM. et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. The female athlete triad. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007; 39: 1867-1882. DOI: 10.1249/mss.0b013e318149f111.
- 40 Becker AE, Grinspoon SK, Klibanski A. et al. Eating disorders. N Engl J Med 1999; 340: 1092-1098. DOI: 10.1056/nejm199904083401407.
- 41 Sullivan PF. Mortality in anorexia nervosa. Am J Psychiatry 1995; 152: 1073-1074. doi:10.1176/ajp.152.7.1073
- 42 Martinsen M, Bahr R, Børresen R. et al. Preventing eating disorders among young elite athletes: a randomized controlled trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2014; 46: 435-447
- 43 Martinsen M, Sundgot-Borgen J. Higher prevalence of eating disorders among adolescent elite athletes than controls. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2013; 45: 1188-1197
- 44 Sundgot-Borgen J, Danielsen KK, Torstveit MK. Female former elite athletes suffering from eating disorders during their career. A 15-20 year follow-up. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012; 44(5S): 703
- 45 Kelso A, Müller W, Fürhapter-Rieger A. et al. High inter-observer reliability in standardized ultrasound measurements of subcutaneous adipose tissue in children aged three to six years. BMC Pediatr 2020; 20: 145. DOI: 10.1186/s12887-020-02044-6.
- 46 Brooks GA, Fahey TD, Baldwin KM. Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2005: 124-154
- 47 gether Run, Krejci T.. Running wonderland. In. 2019; https://run2gether.com/?portfolio=things-to-know&lang=en#tab-id-3
- 48 Wilber RL, Pitsiladis YP. Kenyan and Ethiopian distance runners: What makes them so good?. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 2012; 7: 92-102
- 49 Marc A, Sedeaud A, Guillaume M. et al. Marathon progress: Demography, morphology and environment. J Sports Sci 2014; 32: 524-532. DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2013.835436.
- 50 Gruber K, Ruder H, Denoth J. et al. A comparative study of impact dynamics: wobbling mass model versus rigid body models. J Biomech 1998; 31: 439-444. DOI: 10.1016/s0021-9290(98)00033-5.
- 51 Norgan NG. Population differences in body composition in relation to the body mass index. Eur J Clin Nutr 1994; 48 Suppl 3 S10-S25