Nutritional status of U.S. elite female heptathletes during training

V. A. Mullins, L. B. Houtkooper, W. H. Howell, S. B. Going, C. H. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study describes the body composition, dietary nutrient intake, dietary practices, and biochemical indices of iron status of elite female American heptathletes during training. Four-day diet records and dietary practice questionnaires were obtained from 19 female heptathletes (26 ± 3 years) during the training season. Anthropometric measurements and fasting blood samples were obtained at the lowest phase of the training cycle. These athletes had a low body fat (13.8 ± 2.7%) and high fat-free mass to height ratios (33.0 ± 2.0 kg/m). Average nutrient intakes were > 67% of the reference intakes for all nutrients except vitamin E. Most dietary nutrient densities were higher than NHANES III nutrient densities for women 20-29 years old. More than 50% of the athletes took vitamin supplements and monitored their hydration status. Fifteen of the 17 athletes reported a normal menstrual cycle. Markers of biochemical iron status were all within the normal range. On average, these athletes were lean with high levels of fat free mass, adequate nutrient intakes, and normal biochemical indices of iron status. However, individual data reveals considerable variability within this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-314
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Body composition
  • Dietary practices
  • Iron status
  • Macronutrient intakes
  • Micronutrient intakes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutritional status of U.S. elite female heptathletes during training'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this