Is growth inhibited in non-elite competitive female gymnasts?

Caine, D., Daly, R., Bass, S. and Knutzen, K. 2003, Is growth inhibited in non-elite competitive female gymnasts?, in MSSE 2003 : Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise : Abstract Issue, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, San Francisco, Calif., pp. 204-204.

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Title Is growth inhibited in non-elite competitive female gymnasts?
Author(s) Caine, D.
Daly, R.ORCID iD for Daly, R.
Bass, S.
Knutzen, K.
Conference name Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Annual Meeting (2003 : San Francisco, Calif.)
Conference location San Francisco, Calif.
Conference dates 28-31 May 2003
Title of proceedings MSSE 2003 : Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise : Abstract Issue
Publication date 2003
Start page 204
End page 204
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
We asked: 1) is statural growth inhibited in non-elite competitive female gymnasts?; and 2) if growth is reduced, is the effect similar for legs and spine?

Height(Ht), sitting height(StHt) and leg length(LL) were measured in gymnasts and controls at baseline and every 12 mths for 2 yrs. Pubertal status was assessed by Tanner stage. Gymnasts were from USGF levels 4–10 and trained 7.5 to 22.5 hrs/wk. Age-adjusted Z-scores were determined for gymnasts on the anthropometric measures and based on linear regression analyses of data for 45 controls.

At baseline, pre-(N=40), peri-(N=16) and post-pubertal(N=11) gymnasts were shorter than controls(-0.9 to -1.3 SD, p < 0.01). In pre- and peri-pubertal gymnasts, this was due to a reduction in StHt (-0.8 to -1.3 SD) and LL (-0.8 to -1.1 SD)(p < 0.01). In post-pubertal gymnasts, StHt (-0.8 SD) was reduced (p < 0.05). No differences were observed in z-score deficits between pubertal groups, nor were there any differences in StHt and LL deficits. During 12 mths follow-up in 39 gymnasts, deficits in Ht z-scores were reduced further in pre-pubertal gymnasts (-0.2 SD, p < 0.001) due to a greater increase in the deficit in LL (-0.3 SD, p < 0.001). While the magnitude of z-score deficits for peri-pubertal gymnasts remained unchanged, Ht z-scores improved in post-pubertal gymnasts(+0.2SD, p < 0.05) due primarily to an increase in StHt (+0.4 SD, p < 0.01). Similar results were found in 16 gymnasts followed for 2 yrs.

Although small size may relate to self-selection for gymnastics, some non-elite female gymnasts may experience attenuated growth during early puberty due mainly to reduced leg growth. The increased growth observed in post-pubertal gymnasts is consistent with catch-up growth associated with delayed maturation.
Notes Extract published in : Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Issue: Volume 35(5) Supplement 1, May 2003,p.S204.
ISSN 0195-9131
Language eng
Field of Research 110604 Sports Medicine
Socio Economic Objective 920116 Skeletal System and Disorders (incl. Arthritis)
HERDC Research category E3 Extract of paper
Copyright notice ©2003, The American College of Sports Medicine
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