This study determined dietary intake and energy balance of elite premenarcheal rhythmic gymnasts during their preseason training. Forty rhythmic gymnasts and 40 sedentary age-matched females (10–12 yrs) participated in the study. Anthropometric profile and skeletal ages were determined. Dietary intake and physical activity were assessed to estimate daily energy intake, daily energy expenditure, and resting metabolic rate. Groups demonstrated comparable height, bone age, pubertal development, resting metabolic rate. Gymnasts had lower body mass, BMI, body fat than age-matched controls. Although groups demonstrated comparable daily energy intake, gymnasts exhibited a higher daily energy expenditure resulting in a daily energy deficit. Gymnasts also had higher carbohydrate intake but lower fat and calcium intake. Both groups were below the recommended dietary allowances for fiber, water, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin intake. Gymnasts may need to raise their daily energy intake to avoid the energy deficit during periods of intense training.
Michopoulou, Avloniti, Kambas, Leontsini, Michalopoulou, and Fatouros are with the Dept. of Physical Education and Sport Science, Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini, Greece. Tournis is with the Laboratory of Research of Musculoskeletal System, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.