High School Athletes and Nutritional Supplements: A Study of Knowledge and Use

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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Factors influencing nutritional supplement use by high school students were assessed. Comparisons were made between various groups of sports participants and non-sports participants. The Nutritional Supplement Use and Knowledge Scale was administered to 509 students. Mean supplement use score was 10.87 (SEM = 0.50, range 0-57). Mean knowledge score was 13.56 (SEM = 0.16, range 1-21). Significant relationships (p < .01) were obtained for supplement knowledge with use, and supplement use with gender. ANOVA found significant differences between supplement use by gender (p < .01), supplement use by sports category (p < .05), and knowledge scores by sports category (p < .01). Discriminant function analysis indicated knowledge, supplement use, and subscores for protein, vitamins/minerals, and carbohydrates were best discriminators of sport group membership. Greater knowledge about supplements was associated with less use; hence, education about supplements can be a deterrent to use. This study may help coaches, athletic trainers, athletic directors, teachers, physicians, and parents identify nutritional misconceptions held by adolescents.

S.J. Massad is with the Department of Health Studies, Springfield College, 263 Alden St., Springfield, MA 01109. N.W. Shier and N.T. Ellis are with the Department of Applied Health Science, and D.M. Koceja is with the Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405.