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The use of sport supplements presents a dilemma for many of those involved in supporting athletes, including coaches, families, support staff, and the athletes themselves. Often the information that they source can be incorrect and promote a biased view regarding the use of nutritional supplements. The aim of this case study was to describe the process that occurred around the development of a series of targeted educational fact sheets on a range of nutritional supplements for Irish athletes. It describes the initiation and support of the process by the Irish Sports Council; one of its subgroups, the Food and Food Supplements Committee; and the Irish Institute of Sport. A needs assessment through questionnaires was carried out to establish the most commonly used sport nutrition supplements by athletes age 16 or over in Ireland. Respondents completed 105 questionnaires over a 4-mo period in 2008–09 that led to the production of 20 supplement fact sheets. These supplement fact sheets will enable Irish athletes to access high-quality, up-to-date, scientific information about the supplements they have reported consuming. Since personal reading had a strong influence over athletes’ decision-making process for taking nutritional supplements, as did scientific research, fact sheets available on the Internet from a reliable source are an ideal way to educate Irish athletes.
Pumpa is with the Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Australia. Madigan is with the Irish Institute of Sport, National Sports Campus, Abbottstown, Dublin, Ireland. Wood-Martin is with Irish Rugby Football Union, Dublin, Ireland. Flanagan is with NutritionWise, Paradigm House, Dublin, Ireland. Roche is with Nutricia Clinical Care, Sandyford Industrial Estate, Dublin, Ireland.