Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Science, Obesity
Musical theatre performers are considered "athletes of the arts", requiring excellent physical and vocal stamina to complete long rehearsals and meet performance expectations. These demands create emphasis on the importance of good nutritional intake. The purpose of this study was to assess dietary and physical activity patterns of professional musical theatre performers (MTPs) in comparison with non-performers (NPs).
The study was cross-sectional and used an online survey via Qualtrics. The survey included the 2010 National Cancer Institute (NCI) Diet History Questionnaire II (DHQ II) and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire-short form. The DHQ II Diet*Calc software was used to generate estimates of nutrient and food group intake. NCI SAS macros calculated Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2015 component and total scores. Statistical analyses were conducted using IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 25. Descriptive statistics were generated for both groups. Chi-square tests were used to assess categorical data and independent sample t-tests were used to compare continuous data between the two groups.
Results : A total of 134 participants were included in the final analysis, of which 58 were MTPs and 76 were NPs. Participants had an average age of 27.5 ± 8.5 years and average BMI of 23.3 ± 5.5 kg/m2 with no significant differences between the two groups. There were no significant associations between the two groups for sex, ethnicity, race, or educational level. MTPs obtained higher HEI scores (69.3 ± 8.5) in comparison with NPs (65.2 ± 8.6) (p=0.007). MTPs engaged in vigorous and moderate physical activity more frequently than NPs (p< 0.001). Of the MTPs, approximately 70% reported experiencing injuries throughout their career, 44% reported following a special diet, and 10.5% reported previous eating disorder diagnosis.
Conclusions : This study found that the MTPs had higher diet quality compared to non-performers. However, the MTPs were more physically active than non-performers, and that prevalence of injuries among MTPs was high. Further research is needed to identify dietary needs of MTPs and develop appropriate nutrition education interventions for this unique population of “athletes in the arts”.
Funding Sources : None