New Zealand jockeys' dietary habits and their potential impact on health

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2002 Jun;12(2):220-37. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.12.2.220.


The purpose of this study was to determine the nutritional status, eating behaviors, and body composition of 20 jockeys working in the New Zealand Racing Industry. Seven-day weighed food records showed the mean daily energy intake for male and female jockeys was 6769 +/- 1339 kJ and 6213 +/- 1797 kJ, respectively. Energy and carbohydrate intakes were below the recommendations for athletes, and the jockeys did not meet the RDI for a number of micronutrients. Of the jockeys, 67% used a variety of methods to "make weight", including: diuretics, saunas, hot baths, exercise, and the restriction of food and fluids. A number of jockeys (20%) showed signs of disordered eating. Forty-four percent of jockeys were classified as osteopenic, and a number of factors may have contributed to this outcome, namely: reduced calcium intake, delayed menarche (14.5 years) in female jockeys, alcohol intake, and smoking. Percent body fat of male and female jockeys was 11.7 +/- 2.9 and 23.6 +/- 3.8, respectively. Current weight restrictions imposed on jockeys by the horseracing industry impacts on their nutritional status, which may compromise their sporting performance and both their short- and long-term health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Diet
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Sports*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires