Brief Education Intervention Increases Nutrition Knowledge and Confidence of Coaches of Junior Australian Football Teams

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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This study evaluated the impact of a brief (20-min) nutrition education intervention embedded in an existing mandatory coach education course for coaches of junior (8–12 years old) Australian football teams. A total of 284 coaches (68% of 415 coaching course participants) completed a presession questionnaire, and 110 coaches (27% of coaching course participants) completed an identical postsession questionnaire. The responses to the pre- and postsession surveys were matched for 78 coaches. Coaches’ ratings of their own understanding of the nutritional needs of young athletes (6.81, 8.95; p < .001), the importance of young athletes adhering to a healthy diet (9.09, 9.67; p = .001), their confidence in their own nutrition knowledge (7.24, 8.64; p < .001), and their confidence in advising young athletes on nutrition and hydration practices (6.85, 8.62; p < .001), all significantly improved following the education session. Nearly all coaches (>95%) provided a correct response to six of the 15 nutrition and hydration knowledge questions included in the presession questionnaire. Even with this high level of presession knowledge, there was a significant improvement in the coaches’ nutrition and hydration knowledge after the education session across five of the 15 items, compared with before the education session. The results of this study suggest that a simple, short nutrition education intervention, embedded in an existing coach education course, can positively influence the nutrition knowledge and self-efficacy of community-level, volunteer coaches of junior sports participants.

Belski, Donaldson, Staley, Skiadopoulos, Randle, O’Halloran, Kappelides, and Nicholson are with Centre for Sport and Social Impact, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Belski is also with the Dept. of Health Professions, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Teakel is with AFL Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Stanley is with VicHealth, Melbourne, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Regina Belski at rbelski@swin.edu.au.
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