Nutrition Knowledge, Opinions, and Practices of Coaches and Athletic Trainers at a Division I University

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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The purpose of this investigation was to assess nutrition knowledge, opinions, and practices of coaches and trainers at a Division I university. Participants (n = 53) completed questionnaires regarding nutrition knowledge, opinions, and practices. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance were used to analyze data. Overall, participants responded correctly to 67% of nutrition knowledge questions. Participants who coached/trained female athletes tended to score better than respondents who coached/trained male athletes. Strength and conditioning coaches and participants with greater than 15 years of experience scored higher than other participants. Nutrition opinions/practices responses revealed that nutritional supplements were provided for all but 6% of participants’ athletes. Participants rated body weight as more important than body composition to athletes’ performances. Over 30% of participants perceived at least one case of disordered eating within the past year. Some participants (53%) felt that athletes may consume more nutritious meals on team-sponsored trips if given larger food allowances. Thirty percent of participants reported dietitians were available to them; the same percentage reported utilizing dietitians. Coaches and trainers are knowledgeable about some appropriate nutritional recommendations, but registered dietitians or qualified sports nutrition professionals may complement the nutrition-related education and counseling of athletes (23).

M.S. Rockwell is a nutritionist with the University Athletic Association at the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. S.M. Nickols-Richardson and F.W. Thye are with the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0430.