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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


SITKO, Sebastian; CIRER SASTRE, Rafel  and  LOPEZ LAVAL, Isaac. Effects of high altitude mountaineering on body composition: a systematic review. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2019, vol.36, n.5, pp.1189-1195.  Epub Feb 24, 2020. ISSN 1699-5198.

High altitude mountaineering is characterized by high energetic requirements due to the environment in which the activity is developed: negative energy balance, extreme cold, high altitude and the assumption of potential risks can be found during the practice of this sport. High altitude mountaineering, as a result of the previous factors, induces changes in body composition which have never been studied previously in a systematic review. A search within four different databases (PubMed, SportDiscus, Scopus and Medline) was performed using the thesaurus terms "Mountaineering" and "Body composition". A second search was performed using the following terms "Altitude" and "Body composition". The selection criteria included studies with healthy adults which evaluated the effects of at least 14 days of uninterrupted stays at altitudes above 4,000 m. The studies included in the review assessed body composition through different methods such as anthropometry, bioimpedance, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, hydrostatic weighing and air displacement plethysmography. The search was performed up to and including December 1st 2018. Eleven observational studies met the inclusion criteria. All studies reported weight loss, of which five reported significant reductions in lean mass and six reported reductions in fat mass. Also, three studies reported reductions in both fat mass and lean mass. Current evidence is limited to observational studies with important confounding factors affecting the final conclusions. Longitudinal studies with a better methodological design and control groups are needed in order to verify these results.

Keywords : Mountaineering; Body composition; Altitude.

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