Physical and Nutritional Status of Professional Japanese Futsal Players

Research Article

Austin J Nutri Food Sci. 2014;2(6): 1032.

Physical and Nutritional Status of Professional Japanese Futsal Players

Masaharu Kagawa1*, Terumi Kobata2, Reiko Ishida2 and Kyohei Nakamura3

1Institute of Nutrition Sciences, Kagawa Nutrition University, Saitama, Japan

2Shoku Sports, Tokyo, Japan

3Fuchu Athletic FC

*Corresponding author: :Masaharu Kagawa, Assistant Professor, Institute of Nutrition Sciences, Kagawa, Nutrition University, 3-9-21 Chiyoda, Sakado Saitama 350-0288, Japan

Received: March 29, 2014; Accepted: May 28, 2014; Published: May 29, 2014


Adequate energy and nutrient intakes are essential for elite athletes to optimize their performance. While athletes have been reported to have a poor energy intake, there has been no report on nutritional status in futsal players who may require different physiological characteristics to soccer. The current study aimed to examine physical and nutritional status of professional Japanese futsal players. Anthropometric and dietary assessments using a food frequency questionnaire based on food groups (FFQg) were conducted on 15 professional male futsal players (12 field players and three goalkeepers: 26.4±0.9 years old). On average, participants had 176.8 ±1.1 cm and 72.8 ±1.3 kg with percentage body fat (%BF) of 11.2 ±0.5%. Although no difference in skin folds was observed, goalkeepers had greater weight and circumference with a higher %BF than field players. The study also showed that none of the assessed nutrients and total energy intakes met the adequate intake (AI). Protein (p<0.05) and dietary fibre (p<0.01) intakes were significantly low even compared with 80% of the AI. Low nutrient intakes may be explained by significantly low consumption of all food groups. The current study suggested insufficient nutrient intakes among professional Japanese male futsal players. A further encouragement and nutritional support may be warranted in order to improve nutritional status of Japanese futsal players.

Keywords: Futsal; Nutritional status; Anthropometry


Σ8SF: Sum of eight skinfolds; ΣPercentage Body: Fat Fatr be; BMI: Body Mass Index; BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate; EER: Estimated Energy Requirement; FAD: Flavin Adenine Dinucleotide; FIFA: Fédération Internationale de Football Association; FFQg: Food Frequency Questionnaire based on food groups; FIFA: Fédération Internationale de Football Association; FFM: Fat-Free Mass; FM: Fat Mass; ISAK: International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry; JISS: Japan Institute of Sports Science; PAL: Physical Activity Level; SE: Standard Error; SFBIA: Single-Frequency Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis; TEM: Technical Error of Measurement; TPP: Thiamin Pyrophosphate


Adequate consumption of energy and nutrients are essential for body build and to optimize sports performance. Sufficient consumption of energy maximizes liver and muscle glycogen store. Also adequate nutrients, such as vitamin B group and protein, together with sufficient energy intakes allow efficient energy metabolism and muscle gain. A recommended amount of protein depends on the type (i.e. aerobic or anaerobic) and physical activity level of the sports. A previous study reported that power- and strength-oriented sports will require1.2 - 1.8 g/kg/day of protein [1].

Futsal is a team sport which is officially sanctioned by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). It is often recognized as a mini-soccer or indoor soccer as game played by two teams of five members (i.e. four field players and a goalkeeper) and often played indoor. Futsal has a similar rule to soccer and consistent with other team sports, players involve in a number of different types of exercise (i.e. walking, jogging, medium speed running and sprinting) intermittently throughout the game. However, futsal will be played in a much smaller size of the pitch, has shorter periods of play (20 minutes per period instead of 45 minutes) and has no restriction in a number of substitutions whilst soccer allows only three [2,3]. Such differences in rule influence physiological abilities required by players of different sporting events. Previous studies comparing with soccer players reported no difference in agility capacity [4] but futsal players have a greater acceleration capacity based on a 10 m sprint test [5]. Also other study from match analysis reported that about 20 % of the entire distance covered by futsal players was either in high-intensity running or sprints [6]. These reports indicate that futsal has different sporting characteristics from soccer and also clearly from other endurance- or power-oriented sports. While it has been suggested that muscle glycogen is important in improving performance of team sport players [2], multi-sprinting nature of futsal further suggests adequate energy consumption, particularly from carbohydrate as a crucial dietary factor that may influence performance of the players. However, existing studies on athletes reported inadequate energy consumption for their physical activity level [7,8]. In addition, to our knowledge, there has been no detailed study on nutritional status among futsal players.

The present study was therefore aimed to investigate physical characteristics and nutritional status of Japanese professional futsal players in Japan.



Participants were professional Japanese male futsal players registered at a team in the F-league, the first division futsal league in Japan that consists of 10 teams. The F-league runs a season from June until February, with two major cup tournaments in August and March. Players will have self-training period in early January and preseason preparation period after the tournament in March.

This cross-sectional study was conducted as a part of nutritional support program that was requested by one of the teams competing in the F-league during the 2012 season. While the program was offered to all registered players in the team, Japanese players who agreed to utilize the data for analysis by signing informed consent form and completed both anthropometric and dietary assessments at the beginning of the season (May) were considered as participants in the study. Out of 20 players invited, 18 players (15 field players and three goalkeepers) agreed to participate. Two Brazilian players and one Japanese player who did not complete a dietary assessment were excluded and thus the final sample size used in the analysis was 15 (12 field players and three goalkeepers). The study was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Kagawa Nutrition University.


All participants underwent anthropometric measurements, including eight skin folds (triceps, subs capular, biceps, iliac crest, supra spinal, abdominal, front thigh and medical calf) and six circumferences (relaxed arm, chest, umbilicus, gluteal, mid-thigh and calf maximum). All skin fold and circumference measurements except for umbilicus circumference were measured using the standard protocol by the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK) [9]. Umbilicus circumference was measured at the level of umbilicus. At each support session, Technical Errors of Measurement (TEM) were calculated for all measured variables. Calculated intra-tester TEMs were within the recommended levels reported elsewhere [10]. In addition, body mass and percentage body fat (%BF) were measured using an Single- Frequency Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (SFBIA) device (Inner scan 50 BC-309, Tanita Corporation, Tokyo, Japan). Measured %BF was then used to calculate Fat Mass (FM) and Fat-Free Mass (FFM).

Dietary assessments

Energy and major nutrient intakes were assessed using a validated Food Frequency Questionnaire based on food groups (FFQg: Excel Eiyo-kun FFQg, version 3.0, Kenpaku-sha, Tokyo, Japan) [11]. The FFQg asked to answer foods they consumed in the past two months by selecting a portion size and frequency of each food group. The questionnaire was aided with an instruction and examples of portionsizes. FFQg forms completed by the participants were checked by registered dietitians in a face-to-face setting to clarify questions from the players and to avoid incomplete responses.

Based on the obtained results, Body Mass Index (BMI: kg/m2) was calculated from the self-reported height and measured body mass and a sum of eight skin folds (equency of each food group] </ Display Text><record><The FFQg data was entered into a dietary analysis program (Excel Eiyo-kun, version 5.0, Kenpaku-sha, Tokyo, Japan). The Estimated Energy Requirement (EER in kcal) was calculated using the equation (28.5 [kcal] x lean body mass(or FFM) [kg] x Physical Activity Level (PAL) which was proposed by the Japan Institute of Sports Science (JISS) [12]. The PAL of 2.0 was used for ball sports during training season. Adequate Intake (AI) for other nutrients including carbohydrate (g), protein (g), fat (g), calcium (mg), iron (mg), retinol equivalent (μg), vitamin B1 (mg), vitamin B2 (mg), vitamin C (mg), total dietary fibre (g) and dietary salt (g) were determined based on recommendations for athletes [13] and the Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese 2010 [14]. In addition to nutrients, amounts of food group consumptions (in g) were estimated using references [13,15]. The food groups include cereals, potatoes, green vegetables, mushrooms and other vegetables, seaweeds, legumes, seafood, meats, eggs, dairy products, fruits, confectionary, sweet beverages, sugar, nuts, oils, and seasonings. From the EER and the recommended nutrient and food group intakes, energy intake per body mass (kcal/kg), protein intake per body mass (g/ kg) and percentage of adequate intakes for both nutrients and food groups were also calculated. Prior to analyses, presence of over- and under-reporters was determined. Based on a previous study result, individuals with energy intake greater than1.6 MJ or 384.2 kcal/d of EER were considered over-reporters [16]. For assessment of underreporters, calculated BMR using the JISS equation was multiplied by the energy intake-to-BMR ratio of 0.88, which is the cut-off point based on the Goldberg critical evaluation of energy intake data using the 99.7% confidence interval [16]. In the present study, under- or over-reporters were not identified.

All statistical analyses were conducted using PASW statistics (version 18.0.0, IBM, Chicago, IL, USA). Descriptive statistics on physical and nutritional results were obtained. Normality of selected variables such as age, height, weight, BMI, %BF, ΣBF, height, weight, BMI, ables it confirmed using the Shapiro-Wilk test. Nutrient and food group intakes between results obtained from the players and AI were compared using paired t-test. In addition, differences in intakes between field players and goalkeepers were assessed using independent t-test. All results were expressed as mean ± SE. A significant level of 0.05 was used unless otherwise stated.


Physical characteristics of the players were shown in Table 1. Their mean age was 26.4± 0.9 years. Mean BMI values calculated from self-reported height and weight were comparable between field players and goalkeepers. However, goalkeepers had significantly heavier weight (79.7 ± 2.3 kg vs 71.1 ± 1.0 kg, p<0.01) and marginally significant height (181.0 ± 1.5 cm vs 175.7 ± 1.1 cm, p=0.045) than field players. Estimated %BF from SFBIA was significantly different between field players and goalkeepers (10.6 ± 0.5% vs 13.7 ± 0.3%, p<0.05), which resulted in significantly greater FM, FFM, BMR and EER in goalkeepers Table 1.