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  • Author: Paula J. Ziegler x
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Paula J. Ziegler, Judy A. Nelson and Satya S. Jonnalagadda

The present study examined the prevalence of dietary supplement use among elite figure skaters, gender differences in supplement use, and differences in nutrient intake of supplement users versus non-users. Male (n = 46) and female (n = 59) figure skaters completed a supplement survey and 3-day food records. Descriptive analysis, chi-square test, and independent t tests were used to analyze the data. Sixty-five percent of male (n = 30) and 76% of female (n = 45) figure skaters reported use of supplements. Forty-seven percent of males and 55% of females reported daily use of supplements. Multivitamin-mineral supplements were the most popular dietary supplements consumed by figure skaters. Significant gender differences were observed in the use of multivitamin-mineral supplements (61% males vs. 83% females, p < .05). Echinacea and ginseng were popular herbal supplements used by these skaters. The 3 main reasons given by male figure skaters for taking supplements were: to provide more energy (41%), to prevent illness or disease (34%), and to enhance performance (21%). Among female figure skaters, the 3 main reasons given were: to prevent illness or disease (61%), to provide more energy (39%), and to make up for an inadequate diet (28%). Significant differences (p < .05) were observed in protein, total fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat intakes, and % energy from carbohydrate and total fat of male supplement users versus non-users, with supplement users having higher intakes except for percent energy from carbohydrate. Sodium was the only nutrient significantly different (p < .05) among female supplement users versus non-users, with supplement users having lower intakes. Given the popularity of dietary supplements, it is important to understand the factors influencing athletes’ use of supplements, their knowledge and attitudes regarding supplements, dosage of supplements used, and the effectiveness of these dietary supplements in meeting the goals of the athletes.

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Satya S. Jonnalagadda, Paula J. Ziegler and Judy A. Nelson

The objectives of this study were to determine food preferences, body image perceptions, dieting behaviors, and nutrient intakes of elite male and female figure skaters. Male (n = 23) and female (n = 26) figure skaters completed a food preference checklist, a questionnaire examining their demographics, dieting behaviors and body image perceptions, and 3-d food records. Male skaters had a higher preference (score ≥ 6) for grains, fruit, meat, dairy, fats, and sweets. Female skaters had higher preference for grains and fruits. Of the female skaters, 30% considered themselves overweight and indicated a preference for a thinner body contour. Both male and female skaters expressed a preference for leaner body contours for members of the opposite gender. Total energy intake, total fat (females) and dietary fiber were below the dietary recommendations. Vitamin E, vitamin D, folate (females), pantothenic acid (females), calcium (females), magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus (females) were less than two-thirds of the dietary recommendations. Macronutrient intake of male skaters was associated with preferences for the grain group, although no association was observed among female skaters. Results suggest that these behaviors and attitudes need to be assessed and addressed among figure skaters, given their impact on dietary intakes and overall well-being.

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Paula J. Ziegler, Judith A. Nelson and Satya S. Jonnalagadda

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.

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Paula J. Ziegler, Judith A. Nelson, Chloe Tay, Barbara Bruemmer and Adam Drewnowski

Dietary energy density (kcal/g) is defined as available dietary energy per unit weight or volume of food. The consumption of energy-dense foods has been associated with increased obesity risk and with excessive weight gain. The objectives of this study were to compare how dietary energy density, calculated using three different methods relates to food choices and nutrient composition of the diets of elite figure skaters. Participants were 159 elite figure skaters attending training camps. Mean age was 18.4 y for boys (n = 79) and 15.9 y for girls (n = 80). Heights and weights were measured to calculate body-mass indices (BMI). Dietary intakes were based on 3-d food records analyzed using the Nutritionist IV program. Mean energy intakes were 2326 kcal/d for boys and 1545 kcal/d for girls. Dietary energy density, based on foods and caloric beverages only, was 1.0 kcal/g. Dietary ED was positively associated with percent energy from fat and negatively with percent energy from sugar. The main sources of dietary energy in this group were baked goods, cereals, regular soda, low-fat milk, fruit juices, bagels and pizza. Percent energy from fast foods was associated with higher dietary energy density, whereas percent energy from dairy products, soft drinks, vegetables, and fruit was associated with lower dietary energy density. These results are consistent with past observations; higher energy density diets were higher in fat. In contrast, there was a negative relationship between sugar content and energy density of the diet.

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Paula J. Ziegler, Srimathi Kannan, Satya S. Jonnalagadda, Ambika Krishnakumar, Sara E. Taksali and Judith A. Nelson

The objectives of the study were to determine the nutrient intakes and to examine body image perceptions and weight concerns of elite female US international synchronized skaters. One hundred and twenty-three skaters (mean age = 17.0 ± 2.1 y; BMI = 21.32 ± 2.13) representing six US international synchronized skating teams from the 1998 competitive season participated in the study. Nutrient intakes were determined from 3-d dietary records. Body image perceptions were assessed from responses to silhouette drawings. Skaters completed an emotional and physical self-appraisal. Weight concerns were assessed using a self-administered validated weight history questionnaire. The reported energy intake was 26 kcal/kg. The contribution of carbohydrate, fat, and protein to total energy intake was 62%, 23%, and 15% for younger (14-18 y) and 62%, 24%, and 14%, respectively, for the older (19-30 y) skaters. Significant differences (P < 0.001) were observed between perceived ideal and current body shapes. The greater the dissatisfaction with physical and emotional self, the larger the discrepancy between current versus desired body shape. Results suggest that sports nutritionists should not only assess nutrition factors but also examine psychosocial and emotional correlates related to body image and weight concerns of synchronized skaters.