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Preseason to Postseason Changes in Body Composition of Professional Ballet Dancers

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Assessment of body composition in dancers as part of a pre-participation evaluation is controversial – it is strongly supported as an important monitor test by some health professionals, but condemned by others as increasing the potential for the development of eating disorders. A number of studies have documented normative values of body composition for dancers at the student, pre-professional, and professional levels. To the best of our knowledge, no study has ever assessed body composition changes that occur during a professional performance season. The present investigation evaluated male (n = 29) and female (n = 39) professional dancers before and after a performance season. While no significant changes in body composition in the males was noted, a significant decrease in both body weight and percentage of body weight as fat was found in the female dancers [Fat %, Pre: 12.8 ± 2.7; Post: 11.5 ± 2.1 (p < 0.05)]. These data suggest that both preseason and postseason assessments of body composition are necessary in order to screen for dancers who require further medical assessment and nutritional counseling to maintain optimal health.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Sports Medicine and Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Services, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115 2: Division of Sports Medicine and Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Services, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 3: Department of Health & Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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