Body Composition and Bone Mineral Density of Division 1 Collegiate Track and Field Athletes, a Consortium of College Athlete Research (C-CAR) Study

J Clin Densitom. 2020 Apr-Jun;23(2):303-313. doi: 10.1016/j.jocd.2019.07.008. Epub 2019 Jul 12.


The purpose of the present study was to generate normative values for total and regional body composition in male and female Division 1 collegiate track and field athletes using dual X-ray absorptiometry. We also sought to examine body composition by event and sex. Data were used from the Consortium of College Athlete Research group. A total of 590 (male [M]/female [F] = 274/316) athletes had their height, weight, total and regional fat mass (FM), lean mass, and bone mineral density (BMD) measured. Athletes were classified into 1 of 7 categories: Jumps (M/F = 28/30); Long Distance (M/F = 104/110), Middle Distance (M/F = 27/24), Multievent (M/F = 11/9), Pole Vault (M/F = 21/27), Sprints (M/F = 54/96), and Throws (M/F = 29/20). Total and regional differences between events and sex were assessed by analysis of variance. Except for male and female throwers, all other track and field athletes' mean percent body fat (M: 10.3%-12.6%, F: 17.5%-21.6%) and visceral FM (<500 g) was low, but in a healthy range. As expected, throwers had significantly (p < 0.05) higher total and regional FM and lean mass than other events. In addition, male (1.55 ± 0.11 g/cm2) and female (1.40 ± 0.12 g/cm2) throwers had significantly greater BMD than all other events while male (1.25 ± 0.10 g/cm2) and female (1.16 ± 0.09 g/cm2) distance runners had significantly lower BMD than all other events. In conclusion, track athletes' body composition differed across events for both males and females. These measurements provide normative data on NCAA Division 1 male and female track and field athletes.

Keywords: Dual X-ray absorptiometry; athletes; visceral adipose tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / anatomy & histology
  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Density*
  • Calcification, Physiologic
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Track and Field / physiology*
  • Young Adult