Eating Behaviors, Nutritional Status, and Menstrual Function in Elite Female Adolescent Volleyball Players


      Nutritional status, eating behaviors and menstrual function was examined in 23 nationally ranked female adolescent volleyball players using a health/weight/ dieting/menstrual history questionnaire, the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), and the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ). Nutrient and energy intakes (El) and energy expenditure (EE) were determined by 3-d weighed food records and activity logs. Iron (Fe), vitamins C, B12, and Folate status were assessed using serum and whole blood. Mean El (2248 ± 414kcal/d) was less than EE (2815 ± 306kcal/d). Mean carbohydrate (5.4 ±1.0g/kg/d) and protein (1.1±0.3g/kg/d) intakes were below recommended levels for highly active women. Mean intakes for folate, Fe, Ca, Mg, and Zn were less than the respective RDAs/DRIs and almost 50% of the athletes were consuming less than the RDAs/DRIs for the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Three athletes presented with Fe deficiency anemia (Hb <12mg/dL), while marginal vitamin B12 status (<200 pg/ml) and vitamin C status (<28mmol/L) were found in 1 and 4 athletes, respectively. Approximately 1/2 of the athletes reported actively “dieting”. Mean BSQ and EDI subscales scores were within the normal ranges; yet, elevated scores on these scales were reported by 26% and 35% of athletes, respectively. Past or present amenorrhea was reported by 17% of the athletes and 13% and 48%, reported past or present oligomenorrhea and “irregular” menstrual cycles, respectively. These results indicate that elite adolescent volleyball players are at risk for menstrual dysfunction and have energy and nutrient intakes that place them at risk for nutritional deficiencies and compromised performance. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002;102:1293–1296.
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