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Teens Involved in Sports Have Better Dietary Habits

Participation in weight-related and power team sports linked to healthier eating

WEDNESDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who participate in weight-related and power team sports have better nutrient intake and eating habits compared to their counterparts who do not play sports, according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Jillian K. Croll, Ph.D., R.D., M.P.H., of the Eating Disorders Institute in St. Louis Park, Minn., and colleagues analyzed data from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), research conducted among 4,746 adolescents from 31 middle and high schools in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area to measure meal and snack frequency, mean energy and nutrient intake, and mean physical activity.

Adolescents involved in weight-related sports were more likely to eat breakfast than their non-sport-involved peers (3.6 times a week for females, 4.7 times a week for males). There was also an association between weight-related and power team sport involvement and higher mean protein, calcium, iron and zinc intakes. However, calcium intake among adolescents was low regardless of sporting involvement.

"Overall, 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," the authors conclude.

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