Predisposing Risk Factors and Stress Fractures in Division I Cross Country Runners

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The purpose of this study was to explore factors associated with increased stress fractures in collegiate cross country runners. Participants in this study were 42 male and female cross country runners at a Division I university. Each athlete completed a questionnaire regarding smoking status, vitamin/mineral intake, previous stress fracture history, birth control usage, menstrual status, and demographic information. Nutritional assessment via a 3-day food record and measurements of whole body, lumbar spine, and hip bone mineral densities (BMD) were also conducted on each athlete. Results indicated that 40% of the female and 35% of the male runners reported a history of stress fracture, and that all of these did not meet the recommended daily energy intake or adequate intakes for calcium or Vitamin D required for their amount of training. Two-tailed t-test found statistically higher incidences of lumbar spine BMD in males and females whose daily calcium and Vitamin D intakes were below minimum requirements as well as for women whose caloric intake was below the required level. When data on the lumbar spine was evaluated, 31% of participants (31.8% of the male and 30% of the female runners) were identified as having osteopenia and 4.8% with osteoporosis. Results warrant a need for future longitudinal studies.

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