Why Sports Nutrition Matters
Nutrition plays a key role in normal growth, development and performance for young athletes. When kids learn about healthy eating early, they establish good habits that will help them improve athletic performance and stay healthy throughout their lives. Nutrition is also important when it comes to recovering from sports-related injuries.
Did you know?
• Younger athletes may need more calories and specific nutrients than adult athletes because of their rate of growth.
• Snacks are an important way of providing nutrients for recovery after training and for growth in the young athlete.
• Over half of teenagers fail to meet the daily recommended intake for calcium, which is important for strong bones.
• Iron depletion is one of the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies seen in young athletes. Low iron stores can decrease muscle function, impair performance and lower the body’s immune system.
• Water is the most important nutrient. If an athlete’s body weight drops just 1 percent from losing fluids, their performance will decline.
• Despite popular belief, vitamins do not provide a source of energy.
• Dietary supplements are not well standardized or regulated by the FDA—what the package says and what the product actually contains can be very different.