Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

Historically, many sports have used body composition testing to assess athletes under the belief that reaching certain markers would improve athletic performance. According to Dr. Nickols, who was interviewed in a recent Runner’s World article, “Body composition and weight do influence running performance, but so do at least 38 other physiological and psychological factors, from genetics to training to motivation and mental health.”

Unfortunately, body composition testing has been shown to increase body image distress and eating disorders. In light of these problems, in addition to allegations of overuse and abuse, many schools and programs are reviewing policies surrounding body composition testing. Some are implementing changes to reduce risks, such as ensuring such tests are voluntary and keeping results between athletes and sports medicine staff, rather than sharing them with coaches.

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