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Article Title

NUTRIENT INTAKE OF ELITE ATHLETES WITH SPINAL CORD INJURY

Abstract

H. Gerrish1, K. Pritchett1, D. Ogan1; R. Pritchett1; M. LaCroix2; E. Broad2

1Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA, 2US Olympic Committee, Chula Vista, CA

The nutrient needs of athletes with spinal cord injury (SCI) are dependent on their physiological alterations, training load, and intensity of practice. Limited research is available regarding the current nutrient intake and geographical consumption patterns of elite SCI athletes. PURPOSE: This study examined the diets of Canadian (CAN) and American (USA) elite athletes with SCI from the United States Paralympic and Canadian Sport Institute programs utilizing a self-reported 24-hour diet recall. METHODS: Nutrient inadequacy was determined in groups (CAN, n=12; USA, n=27) by the proportion of athletes with mean intakes below the estimated average requirement (EAR) using the Research Solutions Food Processor Diet Analysis Software (ESHA). RESULTS: Mean energy intakes for women and men were 1,603 +/- 855 kcal and 1906 +/- 756 kcal, respectively. Reported micronutrient intakes were below the EAR for >60 percent of USA athletes for vitamin D, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, while 60 percent of CAN athletes reported intakes below the EAR in Niacin, B6, B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. CONCLUSION: Nutrient intakes below the EAR were consistently found for both groups of elite athletes with SCI. Further research is needed to examine nutrient intake using other methods of dietary assessment and to determine factors that may lead to nutrient insufficiencies among elite athletes with SCI.

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