Energy intakes of adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) have been reported to be relatively low, with many micronutrients below recommended amounts, but little is known about the diets of athletes with SCI. The purpose of this cross-sectional, observational study was to assess energy intakes and estimate the prevalence of dietary inadequacy in a sample of elite Canadian athletes with SCI (n = 32). Three-day self-reported food diaries completed at home and training camp were analyzed for energy (kcal), macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals and compared with the dietary reference intakes (DRIs). The prevalence of nutrient inadequacy was estimated by the proportion of athletes with mean intakes below the estimated average requirement (EAR). Energy intakes were 2,156 ± 431 kcal for men and 1,991 ± 510 kcal for women. Macronutrient intakes were within the acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges. While at training camp, >25% of men had intakes below the EAR for calcium, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. Thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, and vitamin D intakes were higher at home than training camp. Over 25% of women had intakes below the EAR for calcium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin D, with no significant differences in mean intakes between home and training camp. Vitamin/mineral supplement use significantly increased men’s intakes of most nutrients but did not affect prevalence of inadequacy. Women’s intakes did not change significantly with vitamin/mineral supplementation. These results demonstrate that athletes with SCI are at risk for several nutrient inadequacies relative to the DRIs.
The authors are with Food, Nutrition and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.