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Dr. Philip Buckenmeyer
Iron deficiency is known to affect many female athletes, but there is a lack of research on its prevalence amongst cheerleaders. Iron deficiency is known to cause fatigue, which is likely to impair an athlete’s performance. Hence, the purpose of this study was to provide insight into the iron levels of cheerleaders that could guide both athletes and coaches, creating positive dietary changes. It may be necessary to increase awareness of this condition amongst female athletes, as it is preventable. The online tool, MyDietAnalysis, was used to examine each participant’s actual nutrient intake relative to their Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), based upon a 7-day food recall. The results showed that SUNY Cortland cheerleaders are consuming significantly lower levels of iron than females that are not high-intensity athletes (control group). In addition, the results revealed a significantly lower caloric intake amongst the cheerleaders compared to the control group.
Iron deficiency, female athletes, cheerleaders, body image