OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS: Suzanne Hecht, MD; Daniel Vigil, MD; Joseph Luftman, MD; Agnes Vasco, MD; Imani Gardner, MD; Lindsay Huston, MD; Richard Contreras, MS
Kaiser Permanente Dept of Family Practice; Division of Sports Medicine and Medical Institute of the Little Company of Mary
Investigators at Kaiser Permanente and the Medical Institute of the Little Company of Mary in Los Angeles recently conducted a study as part of the Potelarius Research Network on body composition in triathletes. They found that body composition is important for performance in a triathlon. Their findings showed that both total race time and race placement were related to body fat percentage in male and female participants. Prior to this study, there was little information about the body composition of triathletes or the relationship of body fat percentage to performance in the triathlon. This information should give proper insight to clinicians, coaches, and athletes about the proper body fat percentage of both male and female triathletes. Suzanne Hecht presented findings from this study at the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Dr. Hecht and her colleagues studied 457 athletes at the 2006 Ford California Ironman Triathlon. Of the study participants, 74% were male and 26% were female. The mean body fat percentage was 17.2 +/-4.6% in males and 27.1 +/- 4.4% in females. Overall placement and total race time showed statistically significant positive correlations with body fat percentage. Due to these findings, the investigators concluded that body composition is important for performance in a triathlon. Dr. Hecht commented that this study provides us more information about the body composition of triathletes. She notes that more study is needed, but hopes that eventually this information can be used to formulate guidelines for proper body composition in triathletes. Dr. Hecht is a member of AMSSM and she received one of AMSSM’s research awards for this study.
The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was organized in 1991 by physicians who recognized the need for an organization within the field of sports medicine that approached athletes, exercising individuals and teams comprehensively with consultative and continuous care of their orthopedic, medical, nutritional and psychosocial issues. Although sports medicine concepts are often thought of in conjunction with professional and elite athletes, these concepts apply to athletes of all levels including grade school, high school, college and recreational athletes. AMSSM is comprised of over 1000 Sports Medicine Physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.
NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 11639 Earnshaw, Overland Park, KS 66210, (913) 327-1415.