Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

Document Type



The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if there was a relationship between dietary/supplemental intake and competitive activity (swimming and gymnastics), on the bone mineral density of 18-21 year old females. Five swimmers, 4 gymnasts, and 12 control subjects were recruited from the university student body. All subjects completed a 3-day diet/supplement record, 3-day activity record, past calcium intake form, and a medical history form. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured for the whole body, L1-L4, the proximal femur and body composition by DEXA. Results indicated the control subjects reported a significantly greater percent of the RDA for energy, protein, and carbohydrate than the athletic groups. There were no differences found for bone building nutrients among the three groups. No correlations could be made between diet/supplement intake and BMD. Gymnasts initiated training at an earlier age than swimmers, and were found to be shorter and experience delayed menarche than other groups. Gymnasts had significantly greater whole body BMD than the control subjects, but not significantly greater than the swimmers. Gymnasts also had greater BMD at all sites measured, and significantly greater than the control subjects at the spine L1-L4, and femoral neck. Gymnasts had significantly greater BMD at the femoral neck and total hip than the swimmers. Though not significant, the swimmers had greater BMD at whole body, and spine L1-L4 than the control subjects. As in similar studies, the greater BMD found in the gymnasts can be attributed to their weight bearing exercise. Due to small sample size, conclusions concerning the benefit of swimming on BMD cannot be made from this study.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Paula M Howat



Included in

Human Ecology Commons