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Eating behaviours and general practices used by Taekwondo players in order to make weight before competition

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

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 6 February 2009



Taekwondo (TKD) is a weight‐classified combat sport. Athletes are required to make weight in order to compete in their chosen weight division. However, the weight management strategies that are often employed are frequently at the expense of nutritional health and sporting performance. The purpose of this study is to investigate eating behaviours and general practices used by Taekwondo (TKD) athletes in order to make weight before competition.


A total of 30 male, international and national, TKD athletes (average age: 23.4 years±4.6) were recruited from a known TKD Club in London, UK. Weight management behaviours, beliefs and attitudes were investigated with the use of a specially designed questionnaire.


A total of 87 per cent of the TKD athletes surveyed stated that they would try to reduce body weight before competition to make weight classification and 47 per cent of the athletes reported that, in their effort to reduce weight, they would use a combination of restricting energy and fluid intake and increasing energy expenditure. A total of 80 per cent of the athletes stated that they would attempt to make weight on average six to nine times a year.


Food and fluid restriction in combination with increased energy expenditure were the preferred methods of weight loss employed by TKD athletes in the sample.



Fleming, S. and Costarelli, V. (2009), "Eating behaviours and general practices used by Taekwondo players in order to make weight before competition", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 16-23.



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