Bone mineral density and body composition in high-performing cricket players : an exploratory study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
Background/Aim: Cricket is a popular sport both in New Zealand, and internationally. Cricketers
have a high prevalence of stress fractures, which may in part be linked to bone mineral density.
However, little research exists investigating bone health in this group. The primary aim of this
study was to investigate determinants of bone mineral density (BMD) in a group of highperforming
cricketers. Secondary aims included measuring musculoskeletal differences in the
dominant versus non-dominant arm, and monitoring pre and postseason body composition.
Methods: Healthy male (n=27) and female (n=11) cricketers aged 16-33y were recruited. BMD was
measured using DXA, and body composition was measured pre and post-season using bioelectrical
impedance analysis (BIA). Food frequency questionnaires (FFQ’s) and a lifestyle & health
questionnaire were completed. Determinants of BMD were tested using hierarchical multiple
regression analysis. A dependent samples t-test was used to determine differences between
dominant and non-dominant arms and changes in body composition over the season.
Results: Skeletal muscle mass was a significant predictor of BMD and accounted for 31, 18, and 38
percent of BMD variation at the hip, spine, and total body, respectively. Age and calcium intake did
not predict BMD at any site. BMD and lean mass were significantly greater (p<0.05) in the
dominant arms of both males (+0.056g/cm2 and +308.4g) and females (+0.078g/cm2 and +254.2g).
A 0.8kg reduction in post-season skeletal muscle mass was found in females (p<0.05), with no
differences found in males.
Conclusions: Skeletal muscle was the strongest predictor of BMD in this group, while age and
calcium intake showed no effect. Significant differences in BMD and lean mass were observed
between dominant and non-dominant arms. Skeletal muscle in males remained unchanged from
beginning to end of season, and was reduced in females. Training methods in this group should
target development and maintenance of muscle mass in order to optimise BMD.