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This study assessed the nutrient intake, body composition and biochemical indices of National Figure Skating Championship competitors. Four-day diet records, fasting blood samples, and anthropometric measurements were obtained 2 months after the National Championships from 41 figure skaters 11-18 years of age. Energy, carbohydrate, fat, dietary fiber and cholesterol intake were significantly lower compared to the NHANES III averages for adolescents in the U.S. In general, the mean intakes for most vitamins except vitamin D and E were above the recommended intake. But the athletes had lower intakes of vitamin E and B12, and higher intakes of vitamin C, and thiamin (females only) compared with NHANES III. The mean intakes of magnesium, zinc, and iodine by the male skaters were below the recommended levels, as were the mean intakes of calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc by the female skaters. Also, the number of servings from vegetable, fruit, dairy, and meat groups were below the recommended levels. Biochemical indices of nutritional status were within normal limits for all skaters. But plasma electrolyte concentrations were indicative of potential dehydration status. The results suggest there is a need to develop dietary intervention and educational programs targeted at promoting optimal nutrient and fluid intakes by these athletes to maintain performance and improve long-term health status.
P.J. Ziegler is with the Research and Development Div. of Gerber Products, Fremont, MI 49413; J.A. Nelson is with the USOC Sports Medicine Div., Colorado Springs, CO 80909; S.S. Jonnalagadda is with the Dept. of Nutrition at Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303.