Dietary Supplement Use by Varsity Athletes at a Canadian University

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Martin Kristiansen
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Ryna Levy-Milne
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Susan Barr
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Anne Flint
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The purpose of this study was to assess reasons for and prevalence of supplement use among varsity athletes and nonvarsity athlete students (controls) at a Canadian university. A questionnaire, distributed to 247 varsity athletes and 204 controls, included variables regarding sports participation, supplements used, reasons for usage, perceived effects, and areas of interest about supplements. Response rates were 85.5% among varsity athletes and 44.6% among controls. Supplements were used by 98.6% of varsity athletes and 94.3% of controls. Varsity men most often reported using sports drinks, and used these (and carbohydrate gels, protein powder, and creatine) more than varsity women. Caffeine products were most often reported by other groups. Health professionals and the Internet were the most reported information sources, while friends most often recommended supplements. Many subjects indicated knowing little about supplements and wanting to learn more. Results indicate a need for nutrition education among both varsity athletes and university students.

Kristiansen and Flint are with the Dept of Human Nutrition, Centre for Advanced Food Research, KVL, Frederiksberg, Denmark. Levy-Milne and Barr are with the Dept of Human Nutrition, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

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