Study finds substantial nutrient insufficiency among female footballers

The researchers reported that most of the subjects studied adhered to the Mediterranean diet; however a โ€œsubstantial percentageโ€ risked insufficient nutrient intakes for vitamin D, iodine, potassium, vitamin E, iron and zinc.

“The results of this study help to clarify energy expenditure related to female soccer playersโ€™ playing positions and their adherence to [the Mediterranean diet], a dietary regimen widely discussed by sports nutritionists,โ€ they noted.

Health and disease preventionโ€‹

Today, womenโ€™s football is increasing in popularity, including in Italy where the number of female footballers registered with the Italian Football Federation doubled in the last fiveโ€‰yearsโ€‹.

But research on female soccer players has not kept up, with existing studies evaluating nutrient intake and food consumption estimated from just one three-day dietary food record.

During a match, menโ€™s energy expenditure is estimated to be between 1,200 and 1,500โ€‰kcal/dayโ€”for women,ย it is approximately 30% lowerโ€‹. Energy demand differs according to a footballer’s body weight/composition and playing positionโ€‹.

Meanwhile, the Mediterranean diet is one of the worldโ€™s most studied diets. Its positive health and disease prevention effects have been extensively investigated. A recent study with Spanish university students demonstrated that subjects with high Mediterranean diet adherence had the highest cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness levelsโ€‹, while other studies question whether the dietย is able to meet athletesโ€™ protein needs.โ€‹

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