Development and Implementation of a Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire for Ultraendurance Athletes

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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The nutritional intake of ultraendurance athletes is often poorly matched with the requirements of the sport. Nutrition knowledge is a mediating factor to food choice that could correct such imbalances. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop and validate a questionnaire to assess the nutrition knowledge of ultraendurance athletes. Nutritional knowledge was assessed using a modified sports nutrition knowledge questionnaire (ULTRA-Q). Four independent assessors with specialization in sports nutrition confirmed the content validity of the ULTRA-Q. Registered sports nutritionists, registered dietitians, and those without nutrition training completed the ULTRA-Q on two separate occasions. After the first completion, a significant difference in nutrition scores between groups (p ≤ .001) provided evidence of construct validity. After the second completion, intraclass correlation coefficients comparing nutrition scores between time points (.75–.95) provided evidence of test–retest reliability. Subsequently, experienced ultraendurance athletes (male: n = 74 and female: n = 27) completed the ULTRA-Q. Athletes also documented their sources of nutrition knowledge for ultraendurance events. The total nutrition knowledge score for ultraendurance athletes was 68.3% ± 9.5%, and there were no significant differences in knowledge scores between males and females (67.4% ± 9.6% and 70.7% ± 9.3%, respectively) or between runners and triathletes (69.1% ± 9.7% and 65.1% ± 9.4%, respectively). In general, it appeared that ultraendurance athletes favored other athletes (73%) over nutrition experts (8%) as a source of nutritional information. The findings of this study indicate that ultraendurance athletes had a reasonable level of nutrition knowledge, but interathlete variability suggests a need for targeted nutrition education.

Blennerhassett is with the Faculty of Health and Social Care, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom. McNaughton, Cronin, and Sparks are with the Dept. of Sport & Physical Activity, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Claire Blennerhassett at claire.blennerhassett@edgehill.ac.uk.

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