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Sports Can Improve Eating Habits In Adolescents

Adolescents involved in sports activities seem to eat healthy food compared to their peers who refrain from sports, a new study has found//.

Teenage girls who participate in weight-related sports activities such as ice-skating, gymnastics and wrestling are more likely to eat breakfast regularly. Furthermore, they ate snacks and dinner more frequently compared to other girls who were not involved in sports or those who played power team sports. The results of this present study can be cited in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Surprisingly, although adolescent girls who participated in sports activities took calcium supplements more than non-athletes, this level was inadequate. In most of the instances, it was much lesser than the recommended daily requirement, approximating to 1,300 mg.

The same effect was also seen with respect to iron intake. In fact less than 30% of the study participants had sufficient amount of iron supplemented in their diet. In addition to the above findings, it was found that adolescent boys uninterested in sports ate lunch and breakfast less frequently than other teen athletes.

Teen athletes were more likely to consume more calcium, zinc, iron and other vitamins and minerals. Boys in all the three groups got adequate levels of these nutrients and satisfied the daily requirements for calcium intake.

‘The positive outcomes typically associated with adolescent sport participation, such as increased self-esteem and emotional well-being, may extend to improved eating habits and nutritional intake as compared with non-sport involved peers,’ concluded Dr. Jillian K. Croll, lead author of the study.


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