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Evaluation of nutritional status, body composition and nutrition literacy in adolescent dancers

Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control
Catarina Albano,1 Fábio Rodrigues,1 Ana Valente1,2

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Introduction: Teenage dancers have a low level of nutrition knowledge. Restrictive eating behaviors and / or incorrect eating habits characterize a significant percentage of dancers, starting these practices very early in their training process. The evaluation of food and nutritional knowledge of teenage dancers is a very relevant subject, because may help dancers to identify gaps in food and nutrition knowledge and, also may contribute to improve their eating habits and sports performance. Aim: To evaluate nutritional status and knowledge in a sample of 12 adolescent dancers. Methodology: Cross-sectional analytical observational study carried out at the Dance School. Anthropometric measurements were performed according to international standards for anthropometric assessment. A general questionnaire was developed and applied to obtain socioeconomic and lifestyle. The study was organized in three phases. The diagnostic phase included the application of a nutritional knowledge questionnaire for adolescents, anthropometric and body composition assessment and the application of a general information and lifestyle questionnaire. The intervention phase included a food education session and new application of the same nutritional knowledge questionnaire. The evaluation was performed by analyzing anthropometric and body composition data and comparing the results of the nutritional knowledge questionnaires applied before and after the food education session. Results: Seven dancers had values of body fat mass above 30%. The highest values were obtained to the tricipital and geminal skin folders (25 mm) and the lowest value was obtained for bicipital skin fold (4 mm). The results of the nutritional knowledge questionnaire showed that 8 of the adolescents did not reach 50% of correct answers dancers failed more questions and failed more answers in groups III and IV. Group I, on the other hand, had the highest rate of correct answers (55%). Nine of the participants showed improvement in nutritional knowledge after a session of food education. Conclusion: Although there has been an increase in nutritional knowledge, the results of this study revealed that there are still many doubts regarding nutrition and diet. A better knowledge may not necessarily reflect an immediate change in the participants eating habits. A balanced, varied, and complete diet and not just an adequate caloric intake is necessary to keep body composition within healthy values, especially for dancers who presented a high BMI and excess of body fat, in order to improve their health condition and sport performance.


young dancers, nutritional knowledge, nutrition education