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Food and macronutrient intake of male adolescent Kalenjin runners in Kenya

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

Dirk L. Christensen*
Centre of African Studies, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Gerrit van Hall
Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre, Rigshospitalet (University Hospital), Copenhagen, Denmark
Leif Hambraeus
Department of Medical Sciences, Nutrition Unit, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
*Corresponding author: Dr Dirk L. Christensen, fax +45 3532 2590, email
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A nutritional survey based on twelve adolescent male Kalenjin runners in Kenya during a 2-week field study was carried out in order to determine the composition of their diet and make a comparison with macronutrient recommendations for athletes. Food samples were collected for analysis of macronutrient distribution and energy content from main meals and the macronutrient distribution and energy content of additional food intake were based on the information of a 24 h recall interview and estimated from food tables. The diet of the Kalenjin runners was very high in carbohydrate (71 % 8·7 g/kg body weight per d) and very low in fat (15 %). Intake of total protein (13 %; 1·6 g/kg body weight per d) was above the daily intake recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization/United Nations University (FAO/WHO/UNU), while essential amino acid intake was estimated to be in the borderline-to-low range based on FAO/WHO/UNU recommendations for children <12 years and adults. The energy intake was mainly derived from vegetable sources (90 %) with maize and kidney beans as the staple food (81 %). The diet of the Kalenjin runners met recommendations for endurance athletes for total protein and most essential amino acid intake as well as carbohydrate intake even though it was based on a small range of food items.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2002


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