Nutrition Knowledge Among Young Finnish Endurance Athletes and Their Coaches

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD $87.00

1 year subscription

USD $116.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD $165.00

2 year subscription

USD $215.00

The nutrition knowledge of athletes and coaches is often inadequate. However, athletes need sufficient knowledge of this subject to understand the importance of food choices for their athletic performance, recovery, and overall health. Adequate nutrition knowledge and skills are important for coaches because they are often the most significant source of nutrition knowledge for their athletes. Most previous nutrition knowledge studies have been carried out in team sports and outside Scandinavia. The aim of this study, therefore, was to evaluate the nutrition knowledge of Finnish endurance athletes (156 males and 156 females; age = 17.9 ± 1.2 years) and their coaches (69 males and 25 females; age = 44.3 ± 12.3 years). The three main sports among the participants were cross-country skiing (n = 53 coaches and n = 111 athletes), orienteering (n = 13 and n = 110), and biathlon (n = 6 and n = 38). On average, the coaches (N = 94) answered 81% ± 9% of the 79 nutrition questionnaire items correctly, whereas the respective result was 73% ± 9% among the athletes (N = 312). The coaches had significantly (p < .001) better nutrition knowledge of all the five subcategories of the questionnaire, whereas the “dietary supplements” and “nutrition recommendations for endurance athletes” subcategories appeared particularly difficult for the athletes. The average nutrition knowledge score of athletes was relatively low. As nutrition knowledge may have a positive association with athletes’ food choices and subsequent dietary intake, Finnish endurance athletes and coaches would benefit from enhanced nutrition education.

Heikkilä, Valve, and Fogelholm are with the Dept. of Food and Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.  Lehtovirta is with the Inst. for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Address author correspondence to Maria Heikkilä at maria.e.heikkila@helsinki.fi.
International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Article Sections
References
  • BirkenheadK. & SlaterG. (2015). A review of factors influencing athletes’ food choices. Sports Medicine 4515111522. PubMed ID: 26243016 doi:10.1007/s40279-015-0372-1

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CockburnE.FortuneA.BriggsM. & RumboldP. (2014). Nutritional knowledge of UK coaches. Nutrients 614421453. PubMed ID: 24727434 doi:10.3390/nu6041442

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CotugnaN.VickeryC. & McBeeS. (2005). Sports nutrition for young athletes. Journal of School Nursing 21323328. doi:10.1177/10598405050210060401

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DesbrowB.McCormackJ.BurkeL.M.CoxG.R.FallonK.HislopM.LeverittM. (2014). Sports dietitians Australia position statement: Sports nutrition for the adolescent athlete. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 24570584. PubMed ID: 24668620 doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0031

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DevlinB.L. & BelskiR. (2015). Exploring general and sports nutrition and food knowledge in elite male Australian athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 25225232. PubMed ID: 25387042 doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2013-0259

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HeaneyS.O’ConnorH.MichaelS.GiffordJ. & NaughtonG. (2011). Nutrition knowledge in athletes: A systematic review. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 21248261. PubMed ID: 21719906 doi:10.1123/ijsnem.21.3.248

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HeffnerJ.L.OglesB.M.GoldE.MarsdenK. & JohnsonM. (2003). Nutrition and eating in female college athletes: A survey of coaches. Eating Disorders 11209220. PubMed ID: 16801252 doi:10.1080/10640260390218666

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HeikkiläM.ValveR.LehtovirtaM. & FogelholmM. (2018). Development of a nutrition knowledge questionnaire for young endurance athletes and their coaches. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 28873880. doi:10.1111/sms.12987

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HoogenboomB.J.MorrisJ.MorrisC. & SchaeferK. (2009). Nutrition knowledge and eating behaviors of female, collegiate swimmers. North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 4139148. PubMed ID: 21509109

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HornstromG.R.FriesenC.A.ElleryJ.E. & PikeK. (2011). Nutrition knowledge, practices, attitudes, and information sources of Mid-American conference college softball players. Food and Nutrition Sciences 2109117. doi:10.4236/fns.2011.22015

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JessriM.JessriM.RashidKhaniB. & ZinnC. (2010). Evaluation of Iranian college athletes’ sport nutrition knowledge. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 20257263. PubMed ID: 20601743 doi:10.1123/ijsnem.20.3.257

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JuzwiakC.R. & Ancona-LopezF. (2004). Evaluation of nutrition knowledge and dietary recommendations by coaches of adolescent Brazilian athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 14222235. PubMed ID: 15118195 doi:10.1123/ijsnem.14.2.222

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • OzdoganY. & OzcelikA.O. (2011). Evaluation of the nutrition knowledge of sports department students of universities. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 811. PubMed ID: 21892942 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-8-11

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ParmenterK.WallerJ. & WardleJ. (2000). Demographic variation in nutrition knowledge in England. Health Education Research 15163174. doi:10.1093/her/15.2.163

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ParmenterK. & WardleJ. (2000). Evaluation and design of nutrition knowledge measures. Journal of Nutrition Education 32269277. doi:10.1016/S0022-3182(00)70575-9

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RossiF.E.LandrethA.BeamS.JonesT.NortonL. & CholewaJ.M. (2017). The effects of a sports nutrition education intervention on nutritional status, sport nutrition knowledge, body composition, and performance during off season training in NCAA Division I baseball players. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine 166068. PubMed ID: 28344452

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SpendloveJ.K.HeaneyS.E.GiffordJ.A.PrvanT.DenyerG.S. & O’ConnorH.T. (2012). Evaluation of general nutrition knowledge in elite Australian athletes. British Journal of Nutrition 10718711880. PubMed ID: 22018024 doi:10.1017/S0007114511005125

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SpronkI.KullenC.BurdonC. & O’ConnorH. (2014). Relationship between nutrition knowledge and dietary intake. British Journal of Nutrition 11117131726. PubMed ID: 24621991 doi:10.1017/S0007114514000087

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Torres-McGeheeT.M.PritchettK.L.ZippelD.MintonD.M.CellamareA. & SibiliaM. (2012). Sports nutrition knowledge among collegiate athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, and strength and conditioning specialists. Journal of Athletic Training 47205211. PubMed ID: 22488287 doi:10.4085/1062-6050-47.2.205

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TrakmanG.L.ForsythA.DevlinB. & BelskiR. (2016). A systematic review of athletes’ and coaches’ nutrition knowledge and reflections on the quality of current nutrition knowledge measures. Nutrients 8570. doi:10.3390/nu8090570

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ValliantM.W.EmplaincourtH.WenzelR. & GarnerB. (2012). Nutrition education by a registered dietitian improves dietary intake and nutrition knowledge of a NCAA female volleyball team. Nutrients 4506516. PubMed ID: 22822449 doi:10.3390/nu4060506

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ZinnC.SchofieldG. & WallC. (2006). Evaluation of sports nutrition knowledge of New Zealand premier club rugby coaches. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 16214225. PubMed ID: 16779927 doi:10.1123/ijsnem.16.2.214

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Article Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 271 271 65
Full Text Views 27 27 14
PDF Downloads 7 7 2
Altmetric Badge
PubMed
Google Scholar