Cross-sectional comparison of body composition and resting metabolic rate in Premier League academy soccer players: implications for growth and maturation

Marcus P. Hannon, Daniel J. Carney, Stephen Floyd, Lloyd J.F. Parker, John McKeown, Barry Drust, Viswanath B. Unnithan, Graeme L. Close, James P. Morton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


For the first time we aimed to: (1) assess fat-free mass (FFM) and RMR in youth soccer players, (2) compare measured RMR to estimated RMR using previously published prediction equations, and (3) develop a novel population-specific prediction equation. In a cross-sectional design, 99 males from a Premier League academy underwent assessments of body composition (DXA) and RMR (indirect-calorimetry). Measured RMR was compared to estimated values from five prediction equations. A novel RMR prediction equation was developed using stepwise multiple regression. FFM increased (P<0.05) between U12 (31.6±4.2 kg) and U16 (56.3±5.3 kg) after which no further increases occurred (P>0.05). RMR in the U12s (1655±195−1), U13s (1720±205−1) and U14s (1846±−1) was significantly lower than the U15s (1957±128−1), U16s (2042±155−1), U18s (1875±180−1) and U23s (1941±197−1) squads (P>0.05). FFM was the single best predictor of RMR (r2=0.43; P<0.01) and was subsequently included in the novel prediction equation: RMR (−1) = 1315 + (11.1 x FFM in kg). Both FFM and RMR increase from 12-16 years old, thus highlighting the requirement to adjust daily energy intake to support growth and maturation. The novel prediction RMR equation developed may help to inform daily energy requirements.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Early online date21 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jan 2020



  • DXA
  • Fat-free mass
  • RMR
  • Youth soccer

Cite this