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Bone Mineral Content and Density Among Female NCAA Division I Athletes Across the Competitive Season and Over a Multi-Year Time Frame

Stanforth, Dixie; Lu, Tao; Stults-Kolehmainen, Matthew A.; Crim, Brittany N.; Stanforth, Philip R.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: October 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 10 - p 2828–2838
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000785
Original Research

Stanforth, D, Lu, T, Stults-Kolehmainen, MA, Crim, BN, and Stanforth, PR. Bone mineral content and density among female NCAA Division I athletes across the competitive season and over a multi-year time frame. J Strength Cond Res 30(10): 2828–2838, 2016—Longitudinal and cross-sectional bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) comparisons were made among impact and nonimpact sports. Female collegiate athletes, 18–23 years of age, from basketball (BB; n = 38), soccer (SOC; n = 47), swimming (SW; n = 52), track sprinters and jumpers (TR; n = 49), and volleyball (VB; n = 26) had BMC/BMD measures preseason and postseason over 3 years. Control groups of 85 college females, 18–24 years of age, who completed 2 tests 1–3 years apart and of 170 college females, 18–20 years of age, were used for the longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses, respectively. A restricted maximum likelihood linear mixed model regression analysis with a compound symmetric heterogeneous variance-covariance matrix structure was used for all analyses (p ≤ 0.05). Increases from year-1 preseason to year-3 postseason included the following: total BMC (3.3%), total BMD (1.4%), and spine BMD (4.5%) for BB; total BMC (1.5%) and leg BMD (1.2%) for SOC; arm (1.8%), leg (1.9%), and total BMD (5.7%) for SW; total BMC (2.0%), arm (1.7%), leg (2.3%), pelvis (3.4%), spine (6.0%), and total BMD (2.3%) for TR; and arm (4.1%), leg (2.0%), pelvis (2.0%), spine (2.0%), and total BMD (2.7%) for VB. Comparisons among sports determined that BB had higher BMC and BMD values than all other sports for all variables except spine and total BMD; BB, SOC, TR, and VB had higher total BMC (11–29%), leg BMD (13–20%), and total BMD (9–15%) than SW and CON, and there were few differences among SOC, TR, and VB. In conclusion, small, significant increases in many BMC and BMD measures occur during female athlete's collegiate careers. The BMC and BMD differences between impact and nonimpact sports are large compared with smaller differences within impact sports.

1Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas;

2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, State University of New York at Albany, Rensselaer, New York;

3Department of Biobehavioral Sciences, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York; and

4Department of Kinesiology, Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas

Address correspondence to Philip R. Stanforth,

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.