Original Investigation

Body composition, growth, and physical development in young people aged 11 to 13 old according to the metabolic load capacity model

Main Article Content

Marilia Marques
Fatima Baptista
Adiposity, Body Composition, Body Mass Index, Child, Growth


As young people undergo the dynamic phase of physical development, their body composition experiences significant changes, marked by the interplay of growth spurts, hormonal fluctuations, and the development of muscle and bone structures, collectively shaping the foundation for their overall well-being.
Objective: This study aimed to compare physical development according to body composition characteristics of the load-capacity model expressed through the ratio between lean body mass (LBM) and fat mass (FBM).
Methods: The sample consisted of 580 participants (283 girls and 297 boys) aged 11-13 yrs. The evaluations included height, body mass index (BMI), total LBM, total FBM, whole-body bone mineral density less head (WBLH BMD) determined by DXA, tibia and radius speed of sound (SoS) measured by ultrasound, somatic maturity through the age of peak height velocity (PHV), and handgrip strength evaluated with a dynamometer. The sample, separated by sex, was divided into two groups according to the LBM/FBM ratio: group A with low LBM/FBM and group B without low LBM/FBM (Z-score > -1). For comparison purposes between these groups, the bone variables and handgrip strength were standardised according to sex and age group (Z-score) using the sample as a reference.
Results: In both sexes, group A revealed a higher BMI, LBM and FBM indexes (p<0.001), an earlier age at which PHV occurred (p<0.001) and lower tibial bone strength (p=0.001), with no differences in radial bone strength. In group A, a shorter predicted adult height was also observed in girls (p=0.024) and a higher WBLH BMD in boys (0.029) than in group B.
Conclusion: A lower metabolic capacity/load in both sexes is associated with increased BMI and seems to compromise the lower limbs more than the upper limbs, particularly in skeletal mineralization, despite promoting earlier somatic maturity.

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Original Investigation


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