Body Composition and Dietary Intake of Elite Cross-country Skiers Members of the Greek National Team


Sousana K. Papadopoulou 1 , Anna Gouvianaki 1 , Maria G. Grammatikopoulou 1 , Zoi Maraki 1 , Ioannis G. Pagkalos 2 , Nikolaos Malliaropoulos 3 , Maria N. Hassapidou 1 , Nicola Maffulli 4 , *

1 Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, Alexander Technological Educational Institute, Thessaloniki, Greece

2 Department of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

3 National Track & Field Centre, Sports Injury Clinic, Sports Medicine Clinic of S.E.G.A.S., Thessaloniki, Greece

4 Centre of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Mile End Hospital, London, UK

How to Cite: Papadopoulou S K, Gouvianaki A, Grammatikopoulou M G, Maraki Z, Pagkalos I G, et al. Body Composition and Dietary Intake of Elite Cross-country Skiers Members of the Greek National Team, Asian J Sports Med. Online ahead of Print ; 3(4):34548. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.34548.


Asian Journal of Sports Medicine: 3 (4); 257-266
Published Online: November 30, 2012
Article Type: Research Article
Received: April 28, 2012
Accepted: July 19, 2012


Purpose: To assess the anthropometric characteristics and dietary intake of the Greek national cross-country skiing team.

Methods: Thirty-three athletes (10 females aged 20 5 years; 23 males aged 20 6 years old) participated in the study. All athletes were members of the Greek national ski team, and they had been selected to take part in the Winter Olympics, World Ski Championships, European Ski Championships or other international events, according to their performance. Body composition was estimated by bioelectrical impedance (BIA) and skinfold thickness. The athletes recorded their physical activity and dietary intake for 3 training days, and on a competition day.

Results: The female skiers had 14.21.9% body fat, the men 11.01.5% body fat. Female athletes consumed a diet of 1988319 Kcal during training days and 2011330 Kcal during competition days. Male athletes consumed 2255790 Kcal and 2125639 Kcal respectively. These values are below those recommended for highly active people. During the training period, carbohydrate, fat and protein contributed to 44.57.1%, 39.25.3% and 16.13.7% of the total energy intake (EI) respectively for the males, and to 52.85.6%, 33.03.7% and 14.32.5% of the EI of the women. Between training and competition days, men demonstrated an increased carbohydrate and reduced fat consumption when competing (P<0.001 for both). Women, on the other hand, consumed more carbohydrate and less protein during competition days (P<0.05 for both). Protein intake was within the recommended range for both males and females, but fat exceeded the recommended values and was consumed at the expense of carbohydrate. Vitamins B12, D, E and K, biotin, folate, Ca, Mg, K, I were inadequately consumed (below the RDA) by both women and men, while the women also exhibited inadequate intakes of iron and the men of manganese.

Conclusions: The inadequate energy and nutrient intake in the Greek national cross-country ski team could put the athletes at risk of nutritional deficiencies, and possibly compromise their athletic performance.

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