Nutrition survey in elite rhythmic gymnasts

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Italy.
The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness (Impact Factor: 0.97). 12/2000; 40(4):350-5.
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "In recent years the attention of researchers focused on some characteristic factors of this discipline: dietary, anthropometric characteristics, the triad of athletes and frequency of injuries to the expert level rhythmic gymnasts' female. The results of studies related to the anthropometric characteristics and power showing a BMI lower than controls not practicing this discipline and a diet characterized by a low fat content (Gómez-Campos et al., 2013; Filaire & Lac, 2002; Cupisti et al., 2000). Other studies have evaluated the prevalence of delayed menarche and menstrual abnormal patterns, as well as the association of menstrual status with the physical training in elite rhythmic gymnasts (Márquez & Molinero, 2013; Georgopoulos et al., 2013; Roupas & Georgopoulos, 2011; Torstveit & Sundgot-Borgen, 2004; Brasili et al., 2003; Klentrou & Plyley, 2003). "

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    • "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. "
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