Svetlana Nepocatych1, Gytis Balilionis1, Eric K. O'Neal2

1Elon University, Department of Exercise Science, Elon, USA
2The University of North Alabama, Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Florence, USA

Analysis of Dietary Intake and Body Composition of Female Athletes over a Competitive Season

Monten. J. Sports Sci. Med. 2017, 6(2), 57-65 | DOI: 10.26773/mjssm.2017.09.008


The purpose of the study was to examine dietary intake, body composition and bone mineral density changes at the beginning and end of a competitive season in female athletes of sports that have been less represented in the literature. NCAA Division I basketball (n=10) and softball (n=10) players mean age (20±1 years) completed 3-day food records at the beginning and end of season. Body composition and bone mineral density were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Mean energy intake was significantly lower at the beginning compared to the end of the season (1925±466 vs. 2326±782 kcals/day; p=0.02). Lean, fat, and total body mass, and total and regional BMD were unaltered from the beginning to the end of season (p>0.05). Macronutrient consumption by percentage did not change across the season (p>0.05) with aggregate data equalling 3.5±1.3, 1.2±0.6, and 1.2±0.5 g/kg/day for carbohydrate, fat, and protein respectively. Carbohydrate and protein intakes were below the recommended levels. Low intake of fibre (17±6.3 g/day) and high sodium (3700±1120 mg/day) also raise concerns. Despite no major alterations in body composition or BMD many female athletes’ diets in the sports investigated while living on campus failed to meet recommended intake levels suggesting maximal athletic performance and health parameters may be stunted due to poor nutrient choices.


Nutrients, Vitamins, Minerals, Performance, Dietary Behaviour, Bone Mineral Density

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