European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 176, Issue 1, pp 41–50 | Cite as

Comparison of body composition and nutrients’ deficiencies between Portuguese rink-hockey players

  • Maria-Raquel G. SilvaEmail author
  • Hugo-Henrique Silva
Original Article


We evaluated dietary intake and body composition of child and adolescent rink-hockey players and controls. Seventy-two male rink-hockey players (38 children and 34 adolescents) and 79 male controls (43 children and 36 adolescents) were evaluated in order to collect training data, detailed dietary intake and body composition. Rink-hockey players presented significantly lower body fat (BF) and higher fat-free mass (FFM) than controls. Mean intakes of carbohydrate and protein were considered to be adequate, but mean intakes of fat were above the recommended levels in athletes. Significant differences were found for energy intake (EI) and exercise energy expenditure (EEE) between athletes and controls (P < 0.05), resulting in some cases of low energy availability in rink-hockey players. Significant group differences (P < 0.05) were also observed for vitamins and mineral intakes in child and adolescent rink-hockey players due to higher mean intakes in control groups. Low intakes of vitamins D, E and K, calcium, iron, boron and magnesium were reported in athletes, with exception for thiamine (P = 0.449), riboflavin (P = 0.246), pantothenic acid (P = 0.065), magnesium (P = 0.061) and phosphorus (P = 0.051) in children and for niacin (P = 0.652), vitamin D (P = 0.406) and zinc (P = 0.783) in adolescents.

Conclusion: Nutritional deficiencies in macronutrients and micronutrients observed in very young rink-hockey players can impair their growth and development with negative consequences upon athletic performance.

What is Known:

Adequate dietary intake is an important resource for athletes’ short- and long-term health, performance and recovery.

There are no published studies in rink-hockey players’ energy availability.

What is New:

This study provides the first data on significant differences in energy intake between very young athletes and controls, resulting in low energy availability in rink-hockey players.

Mean intakes of fat were above the recommended levels, and micronutrients intakes were inappropriate in athletes with consequences for their health and performance.


Body composition Energy Children Adolescents Athletes Rink-hockey 



Basal metabolic rate


Body fat


Body mass index


Docosahexaenoic acid


Energy availability


Energy intake


Exercise energy expenditure


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Fat-free mass


Food and Nutrition Board/Institute of Medicine


Recommended Dietary Allowances





Authors thank the rink-hockey players and controls for their participation in this study and coaches and parents for their collaboration. The authors are also grateful to the reviewers for their valuable comments. This study was carried out at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University Fernando Pessoa, Oporto, Portugal, and at the Research Centre of Anthropology and Health, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. This work was supported by National Founds from FCT—Foundation for Science and Technology under Grant PEst-OE/SADG/UI0283/2015.

Authors’ contribution

Both authors were responsible for the conception, design, data analysis and data interpretation of the study and writing of the manuscript; M.-R.G. Silva was also responsible for data collection. Both authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Informed written consent from each participant was obtained in accordance with the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki guidelines for human subjects. The current study was reviewed and approved by the Ethical Committee of the University Fernando Pessoa (Oporto, Portugal). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health Sciences, University Fernando PessoaOportoPortugal
  2. 2.Research Centre for Anthropology and HealthUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Scientific Commission of the National School of Gymnastics, Gymnastics Federation of PortugalLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Portuguese Ministry of EducationLisbonPortugal

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