Dietary Habits and Body Composition in Adolescent Female Runners

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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The present study was conducted to compare dietary intakes and percentage of body fat between adolescent female runners and sedentary adolescent females. Thirty white girls, aged 15-18 years, served as subjects. Twenty had run between 20 and 55 miles per week for the past 1-5 years. The ten controls had not exercised for at least the past year other than in physical education classes. Nutrient intake was analyzed from 3-day dietary records. Percentage of body fat was estimated using hydrostatic weighing and skinfold thicknesses measured at the right triceps and calf. No significant differences were found between the 20 runners and the 10 controls in intakes of energy, calcium, or iron. Although daily caloric intakes were not higher for the runners, the two groups differed in percentage of body fat; the mean value for the runners was significantly lower than the control group’s value. Both groups consumed greater than recommended percentages of fat and less than recommended percentages of carbohydrates. In addition, both calcium and iron consumptions were below recommended values. In summary, the female runners had typically poor American teenage diets. Overall, these athletes should be instructed to increase their total kilocalories, consume a greater percentage of carbohydrates, and select foods high in calcium and iron.

Correspondence Susan M. Moen Department of Exercise and Sports Studies Dallas Baptist University 3000 Mountain Creek Parkway Dallas, TX 75211-9299 (214) 333-5329
Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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