The assessment of the Energy Availability (EA) has been evidenced as the best way to identify if energy intake supplies the body’s energy metabolic demand, after discounting the energy expenditure
with exercise. An EA below 30 kcal/kg of lean body mass (LBM) is considered inadequate. Information about EA of male and paralympic athletes are scarce in the literature, especially due to the
difficulty in assessing the factors involved in its estimation. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the EA of male Paralympic athletes.
Retrospective study developed during one of the evaluation weeks of the High Performance Program, organized by the Brazilian Paralympic Committee with limb deficient (LD, n=2) and cerebral palsy (CP,
n=3) male sprint athletes. Data collected: anthropometric and body composition measurements [body mass (BM), height (H), and skinfolds]. LBM was estimated using Jackson e Pollock (1978) equation.
Photographic records of four consecutive days were used to collect food intake data, and used to estimate energy intake. Concomitantly, energy expenditure with exercise (EEex) was measured using the
accelerometer Actical® version 3.10. The EA was estimated as the difference between energy intake (Kcal/day) and the EEex (Kcal/day) divided by LBM. The reliability of intra-subject variables were
analyzed using the typical error (TE). We calculated the coefficient of variation (CV%) to express variability and lower and upper confidence limits for expressing the sensitivity, which corresponds
to 95% (LC95%) of TE.
LD and CP athletes trained 5±2.8 and 7±0 hours/day, respectively. Both groups presented total values of EA close to the lower value (LD: 35.1±4.63 and CP: 33.8±3.59 kcal/kgLBM/day). LD athletes had
an important difference in the EA between days 3 and 4 (27.6±6.92 to 42.9±0.37 kcal/kgLBM/day), which was due to the decrease of EEex (755±79.74 to 492±132.97 kcal/day) without the adequacy of food
intake. LD presented a high variability (CV%: 26.6%) and low reliability (8.90kcal) between the days analyzed. The observed sensitivity of EA (kcal/kgLBM/day) shows that the average value of EA are
within the limit of confidence for both groups.
Despite the limitations to estimate the EA due to the absence of a consensus on accurate methods for assessing EA factors in Paralympic athletes, the results show, even with high variation between
days analyzed, that energy intake of these athletes have to be monitored and adjusted to training periodization.