Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and Dietary Patterns of Football Players of Selected Football Clubs in Ashanti Region of Ghana

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Physical activity promotes healthy living and prevents premature death. It provides increased benefits of health in individuals and can mitigate some chronic disease conditions. Cardiovascular disease risks during sports activities and exercises are low but in some instances of athletes who have undiagnosed pathological cardiac conditions, they could be at the mercy of tragic cardiovascular events. Healthy eating habits could be vital in the fight against cardiovascular diseases development. The aim of the study was to determine the dietary intake and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among male football players of some selected football clubs in the Ashanti Region. A cross-sectional study was used and 95 football players of the premier, 1st and 2nd divisions teams were used for the study. The weight, height, BMI, percentage body fat, visceral fat and percentage muscle mass of the players were measured. The blood pressure and biochemical markers such as fasting blood glucose and lipid profiles of the players were also assessed. Dietary intakes of the players were collected using a 24-hour recall and food frequency questionnaire. SPSS version 23 was used to analyze the data collected. Out of the 95 players, 8 (8.4%) were goalkeepers, 30 (31.6%) were defenders, 38 (40.0%) were midfielders, while 19 (20.0%) were strikers. Generally, 8 (8.4%) players were overweight, 79 (83.2%) had a very high body fat and majority (92.7%) had high or very high muscle mass. All players had normal visceral fat. The prevalence of high blood pressure, high fasting plasma glucose among the study population was 8.4% and 10.5% respectively. Hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL and high LDL prevalence were 32.6%, 1.1%, 36.8% and 6.3% respectively. The goalkeepers had a higher mean total energy intake (2547.57±1198 kcal), carbohydrate intake (338.96±134.52g), protein intake (79.27±24.15g) and fat intake (99.32±80.01g). The dietary patterns of the players were poor as majority (63, 66.3%) either ate 2 meals or 1 meal a day. Poor dietary pattern could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Although the anthropometric parameters observed may not be an indication for the cardiovascular disease risk, the prevalence of high blood pressure, high fasting plasma glucose and hypercholesterolemia may put the players at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of a Master of Philosophy Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics