Hydration status and fluid intake of urban, underprivileged South African male adolescent soccer players during training

Reno Eron Gordon, Susanna Maria Kassier, Chara Biggs
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2015, 12: 21

BACKGROUND: Poor hydration compromises performance and heightens the risk of heat stress which adolescents are particularly susceptible to as they produce comparatively larger amount of metabolic heat during exercise. This study determined the hydration status and fluid intake of socio-economically disadvantaged, male adolescent soccer players during training.

METHODS: A pilot study was conducted among 79 soccer players (mean age 15.9 ± 0.8 years; mean BMI 20.2 ± 2.1 kg/m(2)). Hydration status was determined before and after two training sessions, using both urine specific gravity and percent loss of body weight. The type and amount of fluid consumed was assessed during training. A self-administered questionnaire was used to determine the players' knowledge regarding fluid and carbohydrate requirements for soccer training.

RESULTS: Players were at risk of developing heat illness during six of the 14 training sessions (60 - 90 minutes in length). Although on average players were slightly dehydrated (1.023 ± 0.006 g/ml) before and after (1.024 ± 0.007 g/ml) training, some were extremely dehydrated before (24%) and after (27%) training. Conversely some were extremely hyperhydrated before (3%) and after training (6%). The mean percent loss of body weight was 0.7 ± 0.7%. The majority did not consume fluid during the first (57.0%) and second (70.9%) training sessions. An average of 216.0 ± 140.0 ml of fluid was consumed during both training sessions. The majority (41.8%) consumed water, while a few (5.1%) consumed pure fruit juice. More than 90% stated that water was the most appropriate fluid to consume before, during and after training. Very few (5.0%) correctly stated that carbohydrate should be consumed before, during and after training.

CONCLUSIONS: Approximately a quarter were severely dehydrated. Many did not drink or drank insufficient amounts. The players' beliefs regarding the importance of fluid and carbohydrate consumption did not correspond with their practices. A nutrition education programme is needed to educate players on the importance of fluid and carbohydrate to prevent dehydration and ensure appropriate carbohydrate intake.

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