Dietary intakes and eating habits of college athletes: are female college athletes following the current sports nutrition standards?

J Am Coll Health. 2013;61(1):10-6. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2012.747526.


Objective: The objective of this study was to assess dietary intakes and eating habits of female college athletes and compared them with the minimum sports nutrition standards.

Participants: Data were obtained from 52 female college athletes from a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I university between January 2009 and May 2010.

Methods: Participants completed anthropometric measurements and dietary assessment using a 3-day food record, a 24-hour recall, and a nutrition questionnaire.

Results: t tests indicated the energy and carbohydrate intakes were below the minimum recommended amount (p<.001), with only 9% of the participants meeting their energy needs. Seventy-five percent of the participants failed to consume the minimum amount of carbohydrates that is required to support training. The majority of the participants reported no regular breakfast, 36% consumed<5 meals/day, and only 16% monitored their hydration status.

Conclusions: Effective nutrition interventions are needed to improve dietary intakes and eating habits of female college athletes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry
  • Athletes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet Records
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Self Concept
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Universities
  • Young Adult