The majority of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) programs do not have a sports nutritionist, leaving athletes to gather information from resources that vary in reputability. The objective of this study was to identify a need for the development of accessible and reputable resources of nutrition information by assessing the current use of nutrition information resources, dietary habits, and sports nutrition knowledge among Division I collegiate athletes. Seventy-two athletes across eight sports completed questionnaires concerning nutrition resources used, dietary habits, and sports nutrition knowledge. In addition, interest levels in a mobile device application for delivery of nutrition information and tools were assessed. Primary sources for nutrition information included parents and family, athletic trainers (AT), and the internet/media, and athletes felt most comfortable discussing nutrition with parents and family, ATs, and strength and conditioning specialists. Performance on a sports nutrition knowledge questionnaire indicated a general lack of nutrition knowledge, and the high frequency of “unsure” responses suggested a lack of confidence in nutrition knowledge. Athletes conveyed a high likelihood that they would use a mobile device application as a nutrition resource, but were more interested in access to nutrition topics than tools such as a food log. We found that college athletes possess minimal sports nutrition knowledge, obtain nutrition information from nonprofessional resources, and were interested in utilizing a mobile device application as a resource. Further research is needed to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of alternative resources, such as a mobile device application, to deliver nutrition information and improve nutrition knowledge.
Zuniga, McCluskey, and Rivers are with Nutrition and Foods, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Downey is with the Athletic Training, Department of Health and Human Performance, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX.