Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Secular Changes in Height, Weight, Body Mass Index and Daily Nutrition Preferences in Children during Soccer Recruitment Camps

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Secular Changes in Height, Weight, Body Mass Index and Daily Nutrition Preferences in Children during Soccer Recruitment Camps

Article excerpt


Association football (i.e., football or soccer) is the most popular sport in the world, and its governing body, the Federation International of Football Association (FIFA), gathers 208 countries and more than 250 million players (FIFA, 2012). Professional soccer clubs invest significant amounts of money in grassroots, and local and international soccer-scouting has become and art and a science (Bertuzzi, 1999). Scouts look for anthropometric characteristics such as height, weight, body mass index (BMI = weight in kg/height in m2), maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and other physiological and psychological variables (Hopper, Guthrie & Kelly, 1991) to determine the best player's profile for their organization (Strøyer, Hansen & Klausen, 2004). Soccer is widely popular in Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, where secular changes in children's height and weight of children has never been reported and might provide valuable information for scouts. Secular changes are modifications in physical and physiological characteristics resulting from environmental changes (Van Wieringen, 1986).

However, there is a plethora of variables known to impact soccer performance besides anthropometric characteristics, including nutrition practices and specifically hydration habits (Dougherty, Baker, Chow & Kenney, 2006). Knowledge regarding hydration habits is important not only for soccer scouts but also for children exercising in hot environments (i.e., summer camps). Dehydration has well-documented deleterious effects on physical and cognitive performance (Bar-David, Urkin & Kozminsky, 2005; Dougherty et al., 2006), and although children have the ability to rate their hydration to determine whether their hydration practices are good or not (Decher et al., 2008); hydration practices and fluid replacement strategies vary widely among children from different age groups, ethnicities and countries of birth (Bar-David, Urkin, Landau, Bar-David, & Pilpel, 2009).

According to Popkin (2010), beverage intake (i.e., type and quantity of a given beverage) has changed in the general population in the last 50 years. For instance, children drink less milk and juices than they did 50 years ago. They also drink more sugar-sweetened beverages than they did in 1960. Exposure to food advertising on television has been associated with higher consumption of softdrinks (i.e., carbonated drinks) and fast food in children (Andreyeva, Kelly & Harris, 2011). This trend is relevant from a public health perspective since highquality basic nutrients provided by beverages such as milk are lacking in most sugar-sweetened beverages. Furthermore, children and adolescents currently consume energy drinks, beverages marketed in sports settings, which include within its ingredients large quantities of caffeine, sugar, carbohydrates (CHO) and central nervous system stimulants and supplements such as guarana, taurine, ginseng, and vitamin B complex (Kaminer, 2010).

Inadequate water intake is also a concern not only for children, but also for the general population. A survey on water intake among 4,292 students in grades six through eight in USA (Park, Sherry, O'Toole, & Huang, 2011), revealed that about 64% of students had low water intake. Park et al. (2011), identified through a regression analysis that Hispanics were among the youth less likely to drink water. Recent evidence (Edmonds & Burford, 2009), suggests that water intake in children aged 7-9 is related to improved cognitive tasks (i.e., visual attention) and positively affects children's thirst perception.

We aimed at surveying beverage consumption in a field study in Costa Rican children and adolescents due to a lack of previous local studies about this subject. These types of studies are relatively new (Nelson, Neumark-Sztainer, Hannan, & Story, 2009; Fiorito, Marini, Mitchell, Smiciklas-Wright, & Birch, 2010) and commonly performed over a 5 year period (i. …

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