Correlation Between Dietary Patterns and Physical Health Among College Athletes: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Ayesha Abdul Wahid
Shujah Tariq
Muhammad Naeem Atta


Background: Previous studies have highlighted the impact of dietary patterns on musculoskeletal health, particularly among athletes, yet there remains a need for more targeted research within this population to optimize dietary interventions. Given the high physical demands placed on collegiate athletes, understanding the specific dietary needs that support musculoskeletal health is crucial.

Objective: This study aimed to assess the impact of a tailored dietary intervention on body composition and dietary quality, measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), among collegiate athletes.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 112 collegiate athletes divided into two groups: InterventionGroup1 (n=56, 38M, 18F) and ControlGroup2 (n=56, 32M, 24F). Over a period of three months, InterventionGroup1 received a structured dietary program tailored to enhance macronutrient intake and overall diet quality. ControlGroup2 continued with their usual dietary habits. Baseline and follow-up assessments included measurements of Body Mass Index (BMI), body fat percentage, and HEI scores. The study lacked a longer follow-up period which could have provided insights into the long-term effects of the dietary adjustments.

Results: After the intervention, InterventionGroup1 showed a decrease in BMI from 24.2 ± 3.1 to 23.0 ± 2.9 and in body fat percentage from 13.4 ± 5.2% to 10.8 ± 4.9%. Their HEI scores improved from 63.0 ± 5.0 to 70.0 ± 4.5. In contrast, ControlGroup2 exhibited minimal changes: BMI decreased marginally from 23.5 ± 2.8 to 23.4 ± 2.7, body fat percentage from 15.0 ± 6.0% to 14.8 ± 5.9%, and HEI scores increased slightly from 60.0 ± 6.0 to 60.5 ± 6.1.

Conclusion: The dietary intervention effectively improved both the body composition and dietary quality of collegiate athletes. These results suggest that targeted dietary programs can significantly benefit athlete health and performance, indicating the need for integrated nutritional strategies within athletic training regimens.

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Author Biographies

Ayesha Abdul Wahid, Superior University, Lahore Pakistan

Superior University, Lahore Pakistan

Shujah Tariq, Consultant, Sarmad Hospital, Jhelum Pakistan

Consultant, Sarmad Hospital, Jhelum Pakistan

Muhammad Naeem Atta, University of Chester, UK.

University of Chester, UK.