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

  • 14.1 Describe nutritional factors that influence risk of acute illness.

  • 14.2 Describe nutritional factors that mediate recovery from acute illness or injury.

  • 14.3 List and describe several chronic diseases that may afflict athletes and the general nutritional principles to consider for each disease.

  • 14.4 Describe the role of the health professional in the nutritional management of clients who suffer from chronic illness.


  • acute illness Sudden onset of a time-limited ailment.

  • bone remodeling The continual process of bone resorption and bone formation.

  • DASH eating plan Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension; an eating plan that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium; it has been found to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension as well as provide countless other benefits.

  • exercise immunology The study of the effects of exercise on the immune response.

  • exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP) Abdominal pain of uncertain etiology that occurs during physical exercise; more common in novice athletes and individuals who have rapidly increased exercise intensity or duration.

  • flavonoid Antioxidant found naturally in many fruits and vegetables.

  • functional foods Defined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as any whole, fortified, enriched, or enhanced food that has a potentially beneficial effect on human health beyond basic nutrition.

  • immunonutritional support The use of nutrient intake or supplementation to attenuate immune changes and inflammation following intensive exercise or injury.

  • insulin resistance The cells respond inefficiently or ineffectively to insulin.

  • medical nutrition therapy Nutritional assessment, one-on-one counseling, and therapy intended to treat a specific illness or disease; should only be administered by a registered dietitian.

  • open window of impaired immunity A period of time lasting 3 to 72 hours in which athletes who engage in intensive training are at particularly increased risk of infection.

  • osteopenia A condition in which bone density is lower than normal; a precursor to osteoporosis.

  • osteoporosis Weakening of the bones, which can lead to bone fracture of the hip, spine, and other skeletal sites.

  • probiotics Bacteria that can be consumed in foods or supplements that help the body maintain a healthy balance of gut organisms.

  • quercetin A flavonoid that may help to protect from illness and enhance healing from injury.


Sixty-three-year-old marathoner Colon Terrell of Raleigh, North Carolina, seemed an unlikely victim of heart disease. Despite being a former marathoner and living a relatively healthy lifestyle, Terrell suffered a severe myocardial infarction in February 2009. Doctors reported a 95% to 100% blockage in several of his coronary arteries, resulting in open heart bypass surgery. Just 3.5 years after his catastrophic illness, Terrell completed a 3,275-mile trek across the United States from the Cape Hatteras lighthouse in North Carolina to the Santa Monica Pier in California to celebrate his survival and to raise awareness and funds to fight heart disease.

Athletes often pride themselves on their focus and attention to good ...

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