The association between early participation in competitive sports and eating attitudes
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The purpose of this study was to determine the association between early participation in competitive sports and eating attitudes. Fifty-six undergraduate college-age students, all of whom had participated in competitive sports prior to age fifteen, took part in the study. Nineteen females, none of whom were currently participating in sports, and 37 males, seven of whom were currently participating in sports, volunteered for the study. These subjects were then divided into six groups according to sex and age when they began participating competitively. Eating attitudes were assessed through the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) developed by Garner and Garfinkel. A three-day diet record and food frequency form were used to obtain dietary intake. Dietary intake was analyzed by the computerized software package Nutritionist III. In addition, each participant completed a nutrition knowledge questionnaire which was used to assess knowledge. Height, weight and body fat analysis were also performed on each of the participants. Significant differences were found between the sexes in the areas of Body Dissatisfaction and Drive for Thinness, with females scoring higher in both areas. The results of the study did not support the hypothesis that early participation in sports has a negative association on eating attitudes. Nutrient intake and body fat percentages were significantly different between the sexes. Nutrient intake of all subjects was better than what similar studies have found. Overall, nutrition knowledge was high and did not vary significantly among the groups.