Dietary intakes of elite female athletes in Greece
Although there is a great interest in sports in Greece, there are very few data regarding dietary intakes and habits of Greek elite female athletes. The present study assesses the dietary intakes and the energy balance of elite female athletes of four different sports (volleyball, middle distance running, ballet dancing, and swimming) and a non-athletic control group.Methods
Data were collected over two seasons, the training and the competitive, using 7-day weighed dietary records. Energy expenditure was calculated from 7-day activity records. Anthropometric measurements were also taken for all athletes.Results
Athletes and controls had similar BMI values. Per cent body fat was lower for athletes compared with controls. Between sports, middle distance runners had the lowest per cent body fat. No significant differences were found between mean energy intake of athletes and controls. Mean energy intake was found lower than calculated energy expenditure, for all four teams.
Macronutrient and micronutrient intakes of the athletes were not statistically different from those of the non-athletic control group. Mean micronutrient intakes were found above the recommended values with the exception of iron. Both athletes and controls had a high intake of vitamin C that is a characteristic of the population of the Mediterranean countries.Conclusions
Energy intakes varied between sports and between athletes of the same sport. Calculated energy expenditure was higher from the reported energy intake for most athletes. Athletes with the lowest energy intakes reported menstrual abnormalities.