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After studying this chapter, the reader should be able to:

  • 13.1 List at least three special considerations when working with youth athletes.

  • 13.2 Describe the role of sports and energy drinks in a youth athlete and a typical child’s hydration regimen.

  • 13.3 List the nutrients that require increased intake during pregnancy and lactation. Among those, describe which ones are most likely to be suboptimal in pregnant and lactating athletes.

  • 13.4 Explain why and how much caloric needs change during pregnancy and lactation.

  • 13.5 List several nutrition considerations when working with older adults.

  • 13.6 Describe several unique nutritional needs for master athletes.


  • bone age A determination of the maturation of the bones in relation to chronological age used as a marker to assess further growth potential; assessed by x-ray.

  • empty calories Calories that provide little to no nutritional value.

  • energy drinks Beverages containing caffeine or other supplements in addition to carbohydrates; potential risks outweigh benefits in children.

  • epiphyses Growth plates; closure signifies the cessation of further linear growth.

  • iron deficiency A type of anemia caused by inadequate intake of iron that leads to decreased oxygen-carrying capacity due to decreased production of iron-requiring, oxygen-carrying hemoglobin.

  • iron depletion A state of decreased body stores of iron but normal levels of iron in the red blood cells; if not corrected, progresses to iron-deficiency anemia.

  • master athletes Adult competitive athletes ranging in age from 30 to over 85 years.

  • nutrient density An indicator of nutritional value of a food based on the levels of vitamins and minerals compared with the number of calories.

  • older adult Defined by the Older Americans Act as a person older than 60 years.

  • peak growth velocity The period in early adolescence in which a child experiences the fastest rate of growth.

  • pregnancy-induced anemia The low red blood cell count that occurs during pregnancy due to increased blood volume and lag in increased red blood cell production; a normal phenomenon.

  • sarcopenia “Muscle wasting” or a decrease in muscle mass and strength.

  • sarcopenic obesity Decline in skeletal muscle and strength combined with excess body fat, which is common during older adulthood.

  • sports drinks Beverages containing carbohydrates, protein, or electrolytes.

  • successful aging Maintenance of low disease risk and cognitive and physical function.


Elite athletes range from the teenaged Olympian to the centenarian challenging the limits of the human body. Consider the following examples:

  • First introduced to the sport at the age of 2, and competitive before age 7, legendary golfer Tiger Woods achieved high levels of athletic success throughout high school, college, and his professional career. Other elite athletes such as decorated swimmer Michael Phelps and NBA star Lebron James experienced similar successes throughout childhood and adolescence.

  • Olympic marathon runners Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher trained strenuously together throughout their pregnancies. Radcliffe previously won the New York City Marathon just 10 months after giving birth to her first child. Goucher went ...

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