Relationship between general nutrition knowledge and dietary quality in elite athletes

Inge Spronk, Susan E. Heaney, Tania Prvan, Helen T. O'Connor*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    48 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study investigated the association between general nutrition knowledge and dietary quality in a convenience sample of athletes (≥ state level) recruited from four Australian State Sport Institutes. General nutrition knowledge was measured by the validated General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire and diet quality by an adapted version of the Australian Recommended Food Score (A-ARFS) calculated from food frequency questionnaire data. Analysis of variance and linear modeling were used to assess relationships between variables. Data: mean (Standard Deviation). A total of 101 athletes (Males: 37; Females: 64), 18.6 (4.6) years were recruited mainly from team sports (72.0%). Females scored higher than males for both nutrition knowledge (Females: 59.9%; Males: 55.6%; p = .017) and total A-ARFS (Females: 54.2% Males: 49.4%; p = .016). There was no significant influence of age, level of education, athletic caliber or team/individual sport participation on nutrition knowledge or total A-ARFS. However, athletes engaged in previous dietetic consultation had significantly higher nutrition knowledge (61.6% vs. 56.6%; p = .034) but not total A-ARFS (53.6% vs. 52.0%; p = .466). Nutrition knowledge was weakly but positively associated with total A-ARFS (r = .261, p= .008) and A-ARFS vegetable subgroup (r = .252, p = .024) independently explaining 6.8% and 5.1% of the variance respectively. Gender independently explained 5.6% of the variance in nutrition knowledge (p= .017) and 6.7% in total A-ARFS (p = .016). Higher nutrition knowledge and female gender were weakly but positively associated with better diet quality. Given the importance of nutrition to health and optimal sports performance, intervention to improve nutrition knowledge and healthy eating is recommended, especially for young male athletes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)243-251
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
    Volume25
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

    Keywords

    • nutrition assessment
    • nutritional status
    • sport nutrition
    • nutrition knowledge

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