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Introduction: Young athletes have an increased energy demand because of the competitive practice of physical exercise, presenting greater risks of nutritional inadequacies. Objective: To evaluate the dietary intake of school athletes who practice different sports by gender and age. Methods: The sample consisted of 129 adolescents of both genders, who were tennis, swimming, gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), and judo athletes of sports teams in the city of Aracaju (SE), Brazil. A semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire was applied, which was also supported by a photographic record, to estimate the dietary intake of macro and micronutrients as well as food portions. Results: Among the young athletes analyzed, 41.2% were female with a mean age of 13.54±2.45 years. Regardless of gender, older adolescents had higher energy and macronutrient intakes (p<0.05), but presented similar prevalence of inadequacy in relation to the young. Regarding micronutrients, the comparison between genders showed a higher prevalence of inadequacy among younger girls for vitamin E, calcium and iron. Among boys, only the inadequacy of calcium was significantly higher among the younger athletes. Regardless of gender and age, there was a low intake of dairy products and vegetables and a high consumption of sweets, meats and eggs. Conclusion: The diet of adolescent athletes studied showed inadequacy of macro and micronutrients, especially among the younger athletes. It is essential to develop individual or in group nutritional counseling, so that they may acquire proper eating habits.
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