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Open Access Research article

Sports drink consumption and diet of children involved in organized sport

Dona L Tomlin1, Shannon K Clarke1, Meghan Day2, Heather A McKay3 and Patti-Jean Naylor1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

2 BC Ministry of Health, 4th Floor, 1520 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC, Canada

3 Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, VGH Campus. 302 - 2647Willow Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:38  doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-38

Published: 19 August 2013

Abstract

Background

Organized sport provides one option for children to be physically active. However, there is a paucity of information about the relationship between children’s participation in organized sport and their diet, and specifically their sports drink consumption. Therefore, the relationship between sports participation in children and the consumption of sports drinks, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and other components of diet was examined.

Methods

A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted using baseline data from the Action Schools! BC Dissemination study cohort (n = 1421; 9.90 (0.58) y; 736 girls, 685 boys). The differences between the dietary behaviours of children participating in organized sport (sport) versus those that did not participate (non-sport) was examined. A modified Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children (PAQ-C) was used to measure physical activity levels and participation in organized sport. A Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) and 24-hour dietary recall were used to assess eating behaviour and macronutrient intake (including protein, fat, and carbohydrate as well as sugar, fibre and total calories). Fruit, vegetable and beverage quantities were hand-tallied from the dietary recall. Fruit, vegetable and beverage frequency was assessed using the FFQ. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to analyse differences between groups and a chi-square test of association was use to determine if participation in sport was significantly associated with the proportion of children consuming sports drinks and SSBs, and with gender.

Results

Children involved in sport had a lower body mass index (BMI) and were more physically active than children in the non-sport group (p < 0.01). Only a small number (n = 20/1421) of children consumed sports drinks and no difference in consumption of sports drink between sport and non-sport participants (p > .05) was observed. However, children involved in organized sport consumed more total calories, fat, fibre, fruit, vegetables and non-flavoured milk (p < 0.01) than non-sport children.

Conclusions

Children involved in organized sport were more physically active, consumed a healthier diet than non-participants and on average had lower BMI’s despite consuming more calories. As consumption of sports drinks among this age group was low, this may be an ideal time to begin educating children and their parents about the appropriate consumption of sports drinks and the perils of consuming too many SSBs, specifically.

Keywords:
Organized sport; Children; Diet; Physical activity; Sugar-sweetened beverage; Sports drink