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Body Composition in Dancers

A Review

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Abstract:

Body composition is identified as a component of physical fitness. Seminal research published as far back as 25 years ago identifies how demands on ballet dancers might cause them to submit to health-compromising behaviors to stay slim. This review article aims to identify what published research informs us with regards to the influence that the drive for thinness has on body image, and the impact that restricted food intake has on the physical health of the dancer. The amount of body fat dancers maintain across a range of dance forms was examined. Subjects of body composition studies have been predominately professional ballet dancers or students of ballet; there were a few studies performed on modern dancers and one study on flamenco dancers. There was a variety of ages of the subjects (15.5 to 40 years) and a range of results. Percent body fat (%BF) ranged from 7.8% to 24.0%. In general, professional dancers tend to maintain less body fat than pre-professional aspirants. Soloists tend to maintain less body fat than corps members. Eumenorrheic dancers maintain higher levels of body fat than their non-eumenorrheic counterparts. This is consistent with other research findings. Ballet dancers tend to be leaner, on average, than modern dancers.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Physical Performance and Development, MSC04 2610, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131 2: Division of Physical Performance and Development, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 3: Health Promotion Program in the Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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