Dragon boat racing requires high physical activity levels during competition and training. The female athletic triad refers to a number of negative health consequences (e.g., amenorrhoea, low bone mineral density, and low energy availability) that may result from high physical activity in female athletes in parallel with inadequate dietary intake. This study aimed to estimate energy expenditure and dietary adequacy in female competitive dragon boat athletes. Following ethical approval, energy expenditure was assessed by use of SensewearTM
armbands (which measure movement as well as galvanic heat loss) on nine dragon boat athletes preparing for the Southeast Asian Games 2013. The mean estimated energy expenditure for the athletes was 2226 ± 711 kJ/day. Mean total energy, recorded using three-day food diaries (6715 ± 2518 kJ/day) and energy availability (99 ± 56 kJ/kg/day), were low. Estimated micronutrient intake (calcium 699.3 ± 328.7 mg/day and iron 10.6 ± 4.7 mg/day) did not meet recommended daily allowances of 800 mg/day and 19 mg/day, respectively. The low intake of energy, calcium, and iron noted within this study could have negative effects on performance and short- and long-term health in female dragon boat athletes.
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