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Nutrient intake and body composition in relation to making weight in young male Taekwondo players

Sarah Fleming (Academy of Sport, Physical Activity and Well‐being, London South Bank University, London, UK, and)
Vassiliki Costarelli (Department of Home Economics and Ecology, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 18 September 2007




The purpose of the current study was to investigate the nutritional intake and body composition of Taekwondo (TKD) athletes during a two‐week period of weight management as they prepare to make weight classification for an international competition.


Seven male, 17‐28 years old, international TKD athletes were recruited from a known World Taekwondo Federation TKD Club in London. Habitual and pre‐competition dietary intake was assessed using a three‐day and a five‐day food diary, respectively. Body weight and percentage body fat (Holtain Calipers, seven sites) were measured at the beginning of the study and 24h before competition. Body weight was also measured on the day of competition.


Energy, total carbohydrate, calcium and water intakes were below recommendations for athletes, particularly, before competition and consumption of fat and salt exceeded recommendations. Compared with baseline, the two‐week weight management period induced a significant reduction in the athletes body weight (1.2 per cent, P<0.05), however, there was no significant reduction in percentage body fat which remained stable at a very low average of 3.2 per cent (±0.8). During the 24‐h prior to weigh‐in for competition, the athletes significantly reduced their body weight by a further 3.4 per cent (2.2kg, P<0.05). The dietary analysis showed that the athletes were consuming a sub‐optimal diet both habitually and pre‐competition, which may compromise their performance and short‐ and long‐term health.


There has been a distinctive lack of literature on nutritional studies conducted on TKD athletes. This paper helps to fill that gap.



Fleming, S. and Costarelli, V. (2007), "Nutrient intake and body composition in relation to making weight in young male Taekwondo players", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 358-366.



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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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