Jan 29, 2015
Study Evaluates College Athletes’ Diets

A recent study examining the eating habits and behaviors of NCAA Division I athletes revealed that this population could benefit from better education on nutrition and the effects of diet on performance. It also showed that many athletes’ diets failed to meet some of their basic nutritional needs.

The study, which involved 345 athletes at one D-I school, found that male athletes’ mean energy intake was generally below the level recommended for their age group and activity level. In addition, most male and female athletes consumed inadequate amounts of both carbohydrate and protein. Males were especially prone to insufficient carbohydrate consumption, while typically consuming more fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium than recommended by dietary guidelines. The study also found athletes’ diets often lacked adequate amounts of several key nutrients, including folate, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc.

A majority of female athletes reported that they wanted to weigh less, regardless of their sport. And the attempt to lose weight was “significantly associated” with decreased energy and macronutrient intake, as well as fat and carbohydrate restriction.

The study, “Nutrient Intakes and Dietary Behaviors of Male and Female Collegiate Athletes,” was conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri and published in the August 2004 issue (Volume 14, Issue 4) of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. It is available for purchase at: www.humankinetics.com/IJSNEM/

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