Young female rhythmic gymnasts have been identified as a potential risk group for malnutrition because of their attitude of weight reduction and leanness.
This study aimed to assess the dietary practices of 20 rhythmic gymnasts of the Italian national team, on the basis of a three-day food records collected by clinical interview. Twenty-four age-matched non-athletic females served as controls.
The reported energy intake was similar in gymnasts and controls (28.5+/-5.6 vs 28.2+/-7.8 kcal/kg b.w., per day), but less than the recommended and the estimated requirements. Energy intake from carbohydrates was higher (53+/-6 vs 49+/-6%, p<0.05) and that from lipids lower (31+/-6 vs 34+/-4%, p<0.05) in gymnasts than in controls. In the former the energy supply from breakfast was higher (24+/-2 vs 16+/-4%, p<0.001) and from snacks was lower (8+/-9 vs 17+/-10%, p<0.01). Gymnasts also distinguished from controls for lower cholesterol and saturated fatty acid intake, and for higher fibre (14+/-5 vs 9+/-2 g/1,000 kcal, p<0.001) and Vitamin A dietary content. Calcium, iron and zinc intake were less than 100% RDA in both groups.
In some ways, dietary practices of rhythmic gymnasts meet nutritional recommendations more than those of non athletic controls, though discrepancy between reported energy intake and estimated energy requirement exists. Suboptimal calcium, iron and zinc intake were observed both in gymnasts and in controls, hence minerals supplementation could be required. The dietary attitude could be regarded as a positive aspect of rhythmic gymnastics, provided athletes, physicians and coaches correct dietary errors and avoid excessive food restrictions.
"Nutritional habits of athletes in the so-called esthetic sports mostly do not follow actual energy needs imposed by the high volume and intensity training (Guerra et al, 2001; Cupisti et al, 2000). Young athletes belong to the risk group for qualitatively and quantitatively inadequate nutrition during the period of growth and development regarding the fact that special attention is being paid to body mass, i.e. often to its reduction. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ballet, rhythmic gymnastics, and figure skating are disciplines that are begun early in childhood and pose high demands on the performers' functional and energy capacities, which may influence the development of the body's physique and composition. This study investigated whether differences in the body's physique and composition were preexistent in young, premenarchal ballerinas and female athletes in aesthetic sport disciplines before training was started. Twenty-four anthropometric measurements were made of body physique and composition, and body mass index (BMI) and fat percentage were calculated. The groups of premenarchal dancers and athletes did not differ significantly in body height, body mass, or BMI. They also showed similarities in skeletal measurements, with the exception of ankle diameter. In measurements sensitive to specific training loads, significant differences were found, most notably in figure skaters, who had markedly greater arm circumferences than did ballerinas and rhythmic gymasts. Ballerinas and rhythmic gymnasts did not have significant differences in soft tissues measurements, with the exception of the calf skinfold thickness, which was significantly greater in ballerinas. Skinfold thickness and body fat percentage were higher in skaters than in rhythmic gymnasts and ballerinas. Young ballerinas and rhythmic gymnasts were more slender with lower skinfold values and limb circumferences than skaters.
Medical problems of performing artists 12/2005; 20(4):175-179. · 0.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Weight Management Weight management is the term used for both healthy weight loss and weight gain. Gymnastics includes seven disciplines and each has its own challenges and problems with weight management. Some athletes require building of body mass, muscle and power, while others need strength and flexibility on a small frame. In acrobatic gymnastics, an athlete who had the goal of weight loss as a top or flyer, can then switch to weight gain and muscle building as a base in a pair or group. The medical professional treating gymnasts must have a working knowledge of energy needs and expenditure, healthy nutrition, fluid balance, supplements and sports psychology. They also need to be able to recognize and treat (or refer) athletes with disordered eating patterns, clinical eating disorders and the abuse of substances for rapid weight gain or weight loss. Poor weight management practices can lead to serious short and long-term medical complications, increased injury potential and adverse performance implications. Daily or frequent weight measurement is not a reliable or accurate way to follow the athlete's energy balance or fitness. It is an especially stressful activity for the athlete and can encourage unhealthy eating behaviors and fluid management. Serial skin-fold measurements for body fat and measurements of muscle strength and endurance are the best way to monitor weight and strength changes and should be done by a medical professional. The weight management plan should be developed with the guidance of a sports nutritionist or dietician, with assistance from the athlete, parents, doctor and coach.
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