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ANALYZING THE DIETARY INTAKE OF COMPETITIVE JUNIOR TENNIS PLAYERS: DOES NUTRITIONAL COUNSELING MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

PRESENTED AT THE 2011 ANNUAL STMS CONGRESS


Authors: Brian Young Kim MS, Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition (new affiliation: University of California, Irvine School of Medicine), Karen Reznik-Dolins EdD RD CSSD, Columbia University Teacher’s College


OBJECTIVE:

To assess the dietary intake of competitive junior tennis athletes and to explore the effects of nutritional counseling on dietary intake.


SUBJECTS:

Twelve competitive tennis players age 10-17 y.


DESIGN:

Subjects were divided into two groups based on whether they had (Altheus) or had not (USTA) previously received nutritional counseling. Nutrient intakes were determined from 3-day diet records. Macronutrient and micronutrient intake was quantified using The Food Processor SQL (ESHA Re-

search, Eugene, Oregon).


STATISTICS:

Data were analyzed by the Mann Whitney U test and standard deviations.


RESULTS:

There were no significant differences in age, height, weight, BMI, and BMI percentile for age between the two groups. The athletes as a whole fell short of recommendations for energy (-567 ± 1084 kcal), fluid (-553 ± 988 g), and calcium (-429 ± 584 mg) intake and exceeded recommendations for carbohydrate (+1.58 ± 4.88 g/kg BW), protein (+0.5 ± 1.2 g/kg BW), and iron (+9.2 ± 10.7 mg) intake.


The mean intake of the USTA group was below recommendations for energy (-1123 ± 428 kcal), carbohydrate (-1.17 ± 1.54 g/kg BW), fluid (-754 ± 1006 g), and calcium intake (-776 ± 189 mg), while meeting recommendations for protein (+0.18 ± 0.28 g/kg BW) and iron intake (+1.7 ± 6.1 mg). Subjects in the Altheus group met recommendations for energy (+211 ± 1288 kcal), carbohydrate (+5.42 ± 5.52 g/kg BW), protein (+0.95 ± 0.71 g/kg BW), calcium (+57 ± 615 mg), and iron intake (+19.6 ± 4.7 mg), while falling short only for fluid intake (-272 ± 999 g). Differences in intake between the two groups were statistically significant (p<0.05) for energy, carbohydrate, calcium, and iron intake.


CONCLUSIONS:

These tennis players fell short of recommendations in 3 of 6 categories measured (energy, fluid, and calcium intake). Subgroup comparison revealed that athletes from the USTA group accounted for much of the shortfall, falling below recommendations in 4 of 6 categories (energy, carbohydrate, fluid, and calcium intake), while athletes from the Altheus group met or exceeded recommendations in all categories except for water intake. These results indicate the benefits of nutritional counseling and the need for greater emphasis on nutrition education for our nation’s young athletes.

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