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Clinical Observations from Nutrition Services in College Athletics

      Abstract

      College athletes are vulnerable to nutritional risks because of the rigorous demands of their sport, and because of the realities of college lifestyles. Athletes often adopt rigid training diets that predispose them to undernutrition, fatigue, and injury. Disordered eating, a common concern for college-aged women, affects a substantial number of female collegiate athletes, and is a growing concern for their male counterparts. Few resources exist to promote nutritional well-being among college athletes, particularly for individuals who suffer from eating pathology that is subclinical and often perceived as benign. This article presents evidence of the need for nutrition services for college athletes and describes nutritional risks that affect individuals across a variety of athletic teams. A multidisciplinary treatment model is depicted, featuring a nutrition practice at the core of a sports medicine wellness program in Division I college athletics. Observations from this practice document a substantial burden of subclinical eating disorders and elucidate characteristics of high-risk individuals. The Female Athlete Screening Tool is advocated as a useful tool for identifying eating pathology and triggering timely interventions. These insights from clinical practice identify opportunities and behavioral targets for intervention, and promote an effective model for health promotion in college athletics.
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      Biography

      P. A. Quatromoni is an assistant professor, Department of Health Sciences, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MA.