Bone Mineral Density and Content among Iranian Elite Male Athletes in Different Sports

Document Type : RESEARCH PAPER


1 Department of Sport Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences and Sport Sciences, University of Gonbadekavoos, Gonbadekavoos, Iran

2 Department of Health & Sport Rehabilitation, Faculty of Sport Science & Health, University of Shahid Beheshti, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Sport Sciences, Kish International Campus, University of Tehran, Kish, Iran

4 Department, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran



Objectives: Sport is one of the best ways to prevent osteoporosis; however, not all sports have the 
same impact on bones, for instance, swimming (SW) may have no effect or be harmful. Elite athletes 
are the best choice to detect the effects of any sport. Thus, this study was conducted firstly to compare 
the bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) of elite athletes in vol leyball (VB), 
basketball (BB), and long-distance running (LR) together, and secondly to compare those 
corresponding values in SW athletes with those of non-athletes (NA).
Methods: The subjects (n=58) of this cross-sectional study included elite male athletes (members of Iran's national 
teams, with a minimum of 12-15 hours of training per week) and NA (control; C) who were divided into BB, VB, LR, 
SW (n=12 for each), and C (n=10) groups. The DEXA scan measured the amount of BMD and BMC values in the 
lumbar spine (LS; L2-L4) and proximal femur (PF; neck, trochanter, and Ward’s triangle) areas.
Results: In the LS areas, LR had significantly higher BMD than the BB, VB, SW, and C groups (P<0.001), while for 
BMC, both LR and VB were significantly superior to other groups (P<0.001). Moreover, the BMD and BMC of the 
PF areas of VB and BB were significantly higher than those of the LR, SW, and C groups (P<0.001). Finally, in all 
areas, SW showed significantly higher BMD and BMC, compared to the C group (except for trochanter and femur 
neck BMC) (P<0.05).
Conclusion: LR athletes showed the most bone acquisition in the LS areas and VB players in the PF areas, while 
BB players ranked third in osteoporosis prevention in the mentioned regions. Unexpectedly, SW athletes also had 
better BMD and BMC than NA; therefore, after weight-bearing sports, this type of sport can be effective in bone 
 Level of evidence: III


Main Subjects

Volume 11, Issue 3
March 2023
Pages 212-217
  • Receive Date: 13 August 2022
  • Revise Date: 28 November 2022
  • Accept Date: 30 November 2022
  • First Publish Date: 21 February 2023