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Current Nutrition Practice and Knowledge of Varsity Athletes.

Jacobson, Bert H.; Aldana, Steven G.
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 1992
Article: PDF Only

Surveys were given to 812 varsity athletes from randomly selected Division IA universities to obtain information regarding current nutritional knowledge and practice. The athletes were volunteers from eight men's and women's sports and were required to give oral consent prior to the administration of the questionnaire. The comparison of results from studies conducted in the early 1980s indicated that athletes are still not properly educated with respect to most nutritional issues. Most respondents (72 percent) believed athletes needed vitamin supplements and 76.6 percent believed that vitamins contributed to energy. The belief among athletes that protein supplements are necessary has escalated since the early 1980s along with the probability (p < 0.05) that more males than females use protein supplements. Fifty-one percent of the athletes in this study believed that protein provided the main source of energy in activity. The use of supplements containing selected amino acids was low. However, 69.1 percent of all athletes thought that amino acids contributed to muscle mass and strength. Most respondents displayed minimal knowledge of recommended dietary percentages of fat and protein. The ability of athletes to identify the main functions of vitamins, fat and protein remains low. Current knowledge of the functions of carbohydrates, however, has improved and showed a positive trend.

It was recommended that sequential action be taken to provide new coaches with basic nutritional knowledge and that measures be taken to educate athletes.

(C) 1992 National Strength and Conditioning Association