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Article Title

COMPARISON OF BODY COMPOSITION, EATING HABITS, EXERCISE HABITS, AND HIGH RISK BEHAVIOR IN TRI-RACIAL FEMALE ATHLETES

Abstract

Y. Kuo, A. Perry, X. Wang, K. Jacobs, B. Anderson

University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida

A greater number of issues related to body weight concerns, eating and exercise habits, and high risk behaviors, are particularly evident in female athletes. There are also many minority women participating in sports, presenting a greater need to examine these issues among a more diverse population. Hispanic American (HA) athletes specifically, are in need of more information regarding their behaviors. PURPOSE: To compare body composition, eating habits, exercise habits, and high risk behavior in a group of Caucasian American (CA), African American (AA), and HA athletes. METHOD: A total of 168 female collegiate athletes participated in this study. Physical characteristics examined included body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WAIST), and percent body fat. Athletes also completed a self-administered modified Youth Risk Behavior Survey and Eating Attitudes Test – 26 (EAT-26). RESULTS: Results for the entire sample, showed a mean age of 19 years, mean height of 168.7 cm, mean weight of 65.6 kg, mean BMI of 22.9 kg/m2, mean percent body fat of 26.3%, and mean WAIST of 30.6 inches for the entire sample. BMI significantly contributed to the variance in body weight concerns (p<0.01 for all), eating habits (p<0.05), EAT-26 (p<0.001), and high- risk behaviors (p<0.05 for all). Race significantly contributed to the variance in physical characteristics (p<0.01 for all) and variables related to body weight concerns (p<0.05 for all), eating habits (p<0.05 for all), exercise habits (p<0.05 for all), and high risk behaviors (p<0.05 for all). CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrated that BMI significantly contributed to behavioral characteristics associated with body weight concerns, eating and exercise habits, and high- risk behaviors. HA female athletes demonstrated significantly different behavior characteristics than CA and AA female athletes. Our study reinforces the need for more research in this growing segment of minority athletes.

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