Background: Body composition assessment may help to identify talent, monitor the success of physical training and sport participation, and follow the health-related physical activity
benefits. Sports performance depends of body composition and the ability to measure these changes over time and knowledge about this topic is crucial to coaches and athletes. For example, a high
proportion of body fat free mass is related to a high power to body mass ratio and could impacts positively anaerobic performance. Aim: To evaluate the body composition by dual-energy X-ray
absorptiometry (DXA) of female handball athletes and the impact of age and competitive categories.
Methods: Female handball athletes (n=117; age: 15.3±1.4 years; body mass: 61.3±9.8 kg; Height: 164.8±6.0 cm; Body mass index: 22.5±3.1 kg/m2) of three age and sport category (12-14,
U14 n = 16; 14-16, U16 n = 63; and 16-18 years, U19 n = 38) participated of the study. Participants were recruited from Centro Olímpico de Treinamento e Pesquisa (COTP - São Paulo, Brazil). Inclusion
criteria were: 1) at least one year of experience in the sport modality; and 2) at least 10 hours training per week. All volunteers were submitted to DXA evaluation. Variance (ANOVA) and covariance
analysis (ANCOVA) followed by Bonferroni post hoc were utilized to compare variables measured between categories.
Results: Age have a significant effect in the lean mass (LM) (F(1, 113)=13.16; p<0.001) and fat free mass (FFM) (F(1, 113)=12.34; p=0.001). LM (F(1, 116)=4.29; p=0.016) and FFM (F(1,
116)=3.66; p=0.029) presented a significant age effect. U19 category have LM (p=0.024) and FFM (p=0.013) smaller than U16. Bone mass (BM) (F(2, 116)=8.30; p<0.001), body area (BA) (F(2, 116)=4.80;
p=0.010) and bone mineral density (BMD) (F(2, 116)=9.44; p<0.001) were significantly different between age categories. U14 athletes have a smaller BM than U16 (p=0.042), and U19 (p<0.001). U19
athletes have a high BA than U14 athletes (p=0.007) and a highest BMD than U14 (p<0.001) and U16 (p=0.016) athletes.
Conclusions: Age sport category impacts body composition of female handball athletes evaluate by DXA. It is monitoring can be useful for coaches and athletes.