Quality of life and health status of female and male vegetarian, vegan, and omnivorous endurance runners

Humans have been running since the beginning of history. Today, endurance running is more popular than ever before and is performed in different race distances, such as 10 km, half-marathon, marathon, and ultramarathon. For optimal endurance performance, well-planned dietary strategies are needed, w...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Boldt, Patrick
Contributors: Renz, Harald (Prof. Dr. med.) (Thesis advisor)
Format: Dissertation
Language:English
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2019
Medizin
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Summary:Humans have been running since the beginning of history. Today, endurance running is more popular than ever before and is performed in different race distances, such as 10 km, half-marathon, marathon, and ultramarathon. For optimal endurance performance, well-planned dietary strategies are needed, which can be based on a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Therefore, the aim of the present thesis was to investigate the adequacy of a vegetarian and vegan diet for female and male endurance runners based on quality of life and health status under special consideration of sex differences. For this purpose, an online-survey-based cross-sectional study was conducted. Health status was approached by body weight change, smoking habits, perceived stress, chronic diseases, allergies, intolerances, medication intake, supplement intake, food choice, enhancement substance use and healthcare utilization. Quality of life was measured by using the WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire consisting of the domains physical health, psychological well-being, social relationships and environment. Data analysis was performed by using ANOVA, MANOVA, independent t-test and χ² -test with Cohen’s d and Cramer’s phi (φ) evaluating the magnitude of the differences and associations. Subjects were categorized according to sex, diet group (omnivorous, vegetarian, vegan), and race distance (10KM, HM, M, UM). Overall, Quality of life-scores were high in all endurance runners. Men had slightly higher quality of life-scores than women, mainly due to higher scores in the dimensions physical health and psychological well-being. Male half-marathon runners had slightly higher quality of life-scores than the runners of other distances. More than this, all endurance runners had a good health status. Meanwhile, female endurance runners were at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency and hypothyroidism, whereas male endurance runners were more susceptible to body weight loss due to running training. In addition, vegetarian and in particular vegan endurance runners appeared to be particularly health-conscious. These findings support the notion that adhering to vegetarian kinds of diet is associated with a good health status and, thus, at least an adequate and equal alternative to an omnivorous diet for endurance runners.
Physical Description:99 Pages
DOI:https://doi.org/10.17192/z2019.0420