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Vitamin D Awareness and Intake in Collegiate Athletes

Leitch, Bennett A.1; Wilson, Patrick B.2; Ufholz, Kelsey E.3; Roemmich, James N.3; Orysiak, Joanna4; Walch, Tanis J.1; Short, Sandra E.1; Fitzgerald, John S.1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 31, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003240
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Leitch, BA, Wilson, PB, Ufholz, KE, Roemmich, JN, Orysiak, J, Walch, TJ, Short, SE, and Fitzgerald, JS. Vitamin D awareness and intake in collegiate athletes. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—Poor vitamin D status is a risk factor for negative health and performance outcomes in athletes, but little is known about how athletes' awareness and beliefs about vitamin D affect their consumption of vitamin D. This observational study investigated awareness of vitamin D for health and performance among collegiate athletes and evaluated the association of vitamin D awareness with its dietary intake. Fifty-two female and 29 male Division I collegiate athletes completed an online vitamin D awareness and dietary intake questionnaire between November 1, 2015, and January 30, 2016. Median intake of vitamin D was 330 International Units (IU), which is below the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 600 IU, but was greater in male athletes (693 IU) than female athletes (263 IU, p < 0.01). The RDA for vitamin D was met by 62% of men and 30% of women. Athletes responded that vitamin D “probably” or “definitely” will play a role in their health (88.9%) and athletic performance (71.6%). However, only 23.4 and 28.4% of athletes reported concern for their vitamin D levels or believed that they were at risk for deficiency, respectively. Results showed small-to-moderate, positive correlations (r = 0.28–0.495, p < 0.05) between aspects of vitamin D awareness and vitamin D intake, particularly with supplemental forms of vitamin D. Given the lack of awareness concerning risk of vitamin D deficiency, and the links between aspects of vitamin D awareness and vitamin D intake, nutritional education programs designed to increase vitamin D awareness in athletes may be an effective strategy to reduce deficiency.

1Department of Education, Health and Behavior Studies, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota;

2Human Movement Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia;

3USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota; and

4Department of Nutrition Physiology and Dietetics, Institute of Sport, National Research Institute, Warsaw, Poland

Address correspondence to Dr. John S. Fitzgerald, john.s.fitzgerald@und.edu.

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.