Lack of sleep and poor nutrition increase injury risk in elite adolescent athletes
A new study has surveyed a sample of adolescent athletes on various health variables to determine if they were associated with injury occurrence. The aim of the study was to give overall data on self-perceived stress, nutrition intake, self-esteem, and sleep, as well as gender and age differences, on two occasions among adolescent elite athletes.
A total of 340 elite young athletes were sent an email questionnaire where they answered questions pertaining to perceived stress, nutrition intake, self-esteem and sleep quality in addition to sport played, injuries sustained and so forth. The email questionnaire was sent on two occasions during a single school year: autumn semester and spring semester.
The study findings revealed that many athletes were failing to meet basic nutritional recommendations. For example, 20% of young athletes did not consume enough fruits on a daily basis. Almost 40% failed to consume the recommended amount of vegetables on a daily basis. Fish intake was also insufficient as 43% reported intakes below the recommended amount. The adolescent athletes were not obtaining the recommended duration of sleep on a nightly basis. It turns out that the athletes sleeping at least 8 hours per night had a reduced odds of injury of 61%. In addition, the athletes consuming the recommended nutritional intake had a reduced odds of injury of 64%. Therefore, it appears that athletes can prevent injuries by ensuring that they are sleeping sufficiently and meeting nutritional guidelines.