Dietary Habits, Menstrual Health, Body Composition, and Eating Disorder Risk Among Collegiate Volleyball Players: A Descriptive Study

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Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

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Volleyball is typically considered a non-aesthetic sport. However, the revealing nature of volleyball uniforms may place additional pressure on female volleyball players to be thin and increase the risk of disordered eating. The purpose of this study was to provide descriptive data concerning the body composition, nutritional habits, eating disorder risk, and menstrual health of collegiate volleyball players. Female collegiate volleyball players (N = 14) completed a 7-day food record, menstrual health questionnaire, and EAT-26 survey. Participant body composition was determined using a 3 site skinfold test and the Bod Pod®. Half (50%) of participants were deemed “At-Risk” (AR) for disordered eating according to EAT-26 results, while the other half were consider “Not At- Risk” (NR). Participants consumed inadequate calories (1928 + 476) meeting only 69.35% of their predicted energy expenditure (2780.66 + 148.88). Additionally, all participants were below the recommended CHO intake range of 6-10g/kg/day for athletes (3.49 + 0.89g/CHO/kg/day) and the recommended intake range of 1.2-1.7 g/kg/day for protein for athletes (1.17 + 0.35). Body fat percentage using the Bod Pod® (22.76 + 6.25%) was similar to values reported by other studies. Seven of the participants were currently using oral contraceptives (OC). Menstrual dysfunction was reported by 3 participants not using OC. Of those using OC, 3 reported irregular menses as the reason for taking OC. No significant difference existed in macronutrient and energy intake, prevalence of menstrual dysfunction, or body composition between AR and NR groups. In conclusion, the current study suggests that collegiate female volleyball players’ diets tend to be inadequate in calories, protein, and carbohydrates, placing them at risk for subsequent medical ailments including menstrual dysfunction.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Exercise Science. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


International Journal of Exercise Science

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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.