Publication Date

2012-03-28

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2012-03-28

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Kinesiology and Sport Sciences (Education)

Date of Defense

2011-11-22

First Committee Member

Arlette C. Perry

Second Committee Member

Bobby L. Robertson

Third Committee Member

Kevin A. Jacobs

Fourth Committee Member

Xuewen Wang

Abstract

Given the increased participation in competitive sports and athletics among women, there is a greater number of issues related to body weight concerns, eating and exercise habits, as well as high risk behaviors, which are particularly evident in female athletes. There are also many more minority women participating in competitive sports, presenting a greater need to examine these issues among a more diverse population of competitive female athletes. Hispanic American (HA) athletes in particular, represent a growing segment of the athletic population that is in need of more information regarding their exercise-related behaviors. The aim of this study was to compare and examine body composition, eating habits, exercise habits, and high risk behavior patterns in a tri-racial group of Caucasian American (CA), African American (AA), and HA athletes. Methods: A total of 168 female collegiate athletes were recruited for study which included 82 CA athletes, 35 AA athletes, and 51 HA athletes. Physical characteristics including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WAIST), and percent body fat were examined in all athletes. In addition, all athletes completed a self-administered modified Youth Risk Behavior Survey and Eating Attitudes Test – 26 (EAT-26). Logistic regression analyses was used to determine the influence of BMI and race on categorical variables related to body weight concerns, eating and exercise habits, and high risk behaviors. Results: BMI significantly contributed to the variance in categorical variables related to body weight concerns (p<0.01 for all), eating habits (p<0.05), scores on the EAT-26 (p<0.001), and high- risk behaviors (p<0.05 for all). Race significantly contributed to the variance in physical characteristics (p<0.01 for all) and categorical variables related to body weight concerns (p<0.05 for all), eating habits (p<0.05 for all), exercise habits (p<0.05 for all), and high risk behaviors (p<0.05 for all). BMI and race together contributed significantly to the variance in categorical variables related to body weight concerns (p<0.01 for all), eating habits (p<0.01), exercise habits (p<0.01), and high risk behaviors (p<0.05 for all). Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that BMI significantly contributed to behavioral characteristics associated with body weight concerns, eating and exercise habits, as well as high- risk behaviors. This is similar to what has been found in non-athletic adolescent girls and young adult women. Specifically, HA female athletes demonstrated significantly different behavior characteristics than CA and AA female athletes. Our study reinforces the need for more research in this growing segment of minority athletes.

Keywords

Female athletes, body composition, eating habits, exercise habits, high risk behavior

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