The difference between the adolescent athlete and his mature counterpart is that this is a period of rapid physiologic growth and change. It is important that the additional stresses of athletic competition or preparation for that competition (such as weight reduction) do not compromise these changes. Providing the proper training diet for the adolescent athlete consists of providing adequate calories in the proper balance of nutrients for the additional stress of athletics. This must also take into account the eating patterns and preferences associated with adolescence. Education of coaches, parents, and athletes is an important aspect of providing health care to an athlete or athletic team. Although it may seem more "glamorous" to work with Olympic level or elite athletes, our experience is that these individuals often already have established poor eating patterns and nutritional misinformation. Clinics or educational sessions involving younger athletes will be more successful and build a foundation for tomorrow's Olympic athletes.
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