Dietary needs and body composition

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Dietary needs and body composition


Energy and nutrient needs, body composition and metabolic adaptations across the physical activity spectrum

Our research is focused on a variety of areas with an emphasis on measuring and determining change in physique related to sport and exercise nutrition interventions, injury or life stage, as well as best practice in physique and metabolic assessment. Key projects include The CHANGE study (Dr Jude Maher, Dr Gary Slater and Dr Libby Swanepoel).

Our laboratory includes state of the art equipment including:

  • DXA, both pencil beam and fan beam systems; for the measurement of whole body as well as regional body composition and bone health

  • BODPOD; for measurement of body composition

  • Metabolic cart; for the measurement of metabolism

  • Wearable devices for the monitoring of physical activity and energy expenditure; such as Sensewear

  • Multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy; for the measurement of total body water

  • Array of surface anthropometry resources such as skinfold calipers and tapes; for the interpretation of disease risk in the field

To read more on this research area please refer to:

Energy status and health in female athletes: Dr Hattie Wright

Insufficient energy intake is linked to various health and performance consequences. Health consequences include loss of menstrual function, impaired bone strength, growth and development delays in young athletes. Performance consequences could include decreased concentration and coordination, irritability and increased injury risk.

We have investigated this phenomena, referred to as Relative Energy Deficiency (REDS), in school aged and university aged female athletes. Causes for low energy intake are multifactorial in these groups and differences are found between different ethnic groups. There is a call out for intervention studies to help address key issues that may contribute to insufficient energy intake in athletes of all ages and both genders.

To read more on this research area please refer to:

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