Background: Physically active learning that combines physical activity with core curriculum areas is emerging in school-based health interventions. This study investigates the effectiveness of learning an important numeracy skill of times tables (TT) while concurrently engaging in aerobic activity compared with a seated classroom approach. Methods: Grade-4 primary school students were randomly allocated to physical activity (P) or classroom (C) groups and received the alternate condition in the following term. P group received moderate to vigorous exercise (20 min, 3 times per week, 6 wk) while simultaneously learning selected TT. C group received similar learning, but seated. Changes in TT accuracy, general numeracy, aerobic fitness, and body mass index were assessed. Data were expressed as mean (SEM) and between-condition effect size (ES; 95% confidence interval). Results: Participants [N = 85; 55% male, 9.8 (0.3) y, 36.4% overweight/obese] improved similarly on TT in both conditions [C group: 2.2% (1.1%); P group: 2.5% (1.3%); ES = 0.03; −0.30 to 0.36; P = .86]. Improvement in general numeracy was significantly greater for P group than C group [C group: 0.7% (1.2%); P group: 5.3% (1.4%); ES = 0.42; 0.08 to 0.75; P < .03]. An improvement in aerobic fitness for P group (P < .01) was not significantly greater than C group [C group: 0.8 (0.6); P group: 2.2 (0.5) mL·kg·min−1; ES = 0.32; −0.01 to 0.66; P = .06]. Body mass index was unchanged. Conclusion: Combined movement with learning TT was effective. Physically active learning paradigms may contribute to meeting daily physical activity guidelines while supporting or even boosting learning.
Melanie Vetter, Helen O’Connor, Nicholas O’Dwyer and Rhonda Orr
Richard Collins, Katie Evans-Jones and Helen L. O’Connor
In response to the recent literature regarding the development of applied sport psychologists’ service philosophies (Lindsay, Breckon, Thomas, & Maynard, 2007), three neophyte psychologists take an autoethnographical approach to detailing how they developed their current philosophies. Using vignettes and personal accounts of their experiences they describe how reflection on their beliefs and values about people, behavior, sport, and change has underpinned their development as practitioners. The three authors detail how their delivery has developed from an approach that initially relied heavily on one framework into a more client-led approach that is more congruent with their beliefs and how this has in turn enhanced their effectiveness as practitioners. The implications of this reflective process for other neophytes is explored in relation to the experiences of the three authors.
Fiona Pelly, Helen O’Connor, Gareth Denyer and Ian Caterson
This article describes the development, analysis, and implementation of the menu available to athletes and patrons in the main dining hall of the Athletes Village at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the significant role of sports dietitians in this process. Menu design and development was informed by focus groups, literature reviews, and food-preference surveys of athletes. The final menu was also assessed by an expert panel of Australian sports dietitians. A custom-designed database (Foodweb) was developed to enable dietary analysis of food-production data and creation of point-of-choice nutrition labels. Dietitians assisted with quality assurance testing and training of catering staff. Athletes surveyed in the main dining hall (N = 414) agreed that the menu contained sufficient variety and adequate meat, pasta/rice, vegetable/salad, fruit, and snack items. Sports dietitians played a significant role in ensuring that the menu met the needs of athletes from a range of differing cultural and sporting backgrounds. Dining-hall patrons provided positive feedback and few complaints about the overall dining experience. The information presented in this report can help future caterers and dietitians with the planning and provision of suitable food for athletic performance at an Olympic Games.
Susan Heaney, Helen O’Connor, Janelle Gifford and Geraldine Naughton
This study aimed to compare strategies for assessing nutritional adequacy in the dietary intake of elite female athletes.
Dietary intake was assessed using an adapted food-frequency questionnaire in 72 elite female athletes from a variety of sports. Nutritional adequacy was evaluated and compared using mean intake; the proportion of participants with intakes below Australian nutrient reference values (NRV), U.S. military dietary reference intakes (MDRI), and current sports nutrition recommendations; and probability estimates of nutrient inadequacy.
Mean energy intake was 10,551 ± 3,836 kJ/day with macronutrient distribution 18% protein, 31% fat, and 46% carbohydrate, consistent with Australian acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges. Mean protein intake (1.6 g · kg−1 · d−1) was consistent with (>1.2 g · kg−1 · d−1), and carbohydrate intake (4.5 g · kg−1 · d−1), below, current sports nutrition recommendations (>5 g · kg−1 · d−1), with 30% and 65% of individuals not meeting these levels, respectively. Mean micronutrient intake met the relevant NRV and MDRI except for vitamin D and folate. A proportion of participants failed to meet the estimated average requirement for folate (48%), calcium (24%), magnesium (19%), and iron (4%). Probability estimates of inadequacy identified intake of folate (44%), calcium (22%), iron (19%), and magnesium (15%) as inadequate.
Interpretation of dietary adequacy is complex and varies depending on whether the mean, proportion of participants below the relevant NRV, or statistical probability estimate of inadequacy is used. Further research on methods to determine dietary adequacy in athlete populations is required.
Bronwen Lundy, Helen O’Connor, Fiona Pelly and Ian Caterson
This study aimed to describe the physique characteristics and competition nutrient intake of professional Rugby League players and to assess use of a statistical technique for evaluating validity of dietary reporting. Players (n = 74) were endomorphic mesomorphs and had a mean weight, height, and BMI of 93.4 ± 10.9 kg, 179.9 ± 7.3 cm, and 28.5 ± 2.1 kg/m2 respectively. Mean sum of eight skinfolds was 78.9 ± 2.2 mm (12.4 ± 2.9% fat). Players (n = 34) reported a mean daily energy intake of 17,708 ± 3,688 kJ (carbohydrate 51%, protein 18%, fat 25%, alcohol 4%) with 6 and 2.0 g · kg−1 · d−1 from carbohydrate and protein respectively. Micronutrient intake was adequate but alcohol consumption was high relative to health standards. The dietary records provided a plausible estimate of energy intake however further research is required to evaluate statistical techniques for assessing dietary validity in athlete groups.
Susan Heaney, Helen O’Connor, Scott Michael, Janelle Gifford and Geraldine Naughton
Nutrition education aims to enhance knowledge and improve dietary intake in athletes. Understanding athletes’ nutrition knowledge and its influence on dietary intake will inform nutrition-education programs in this population.
To systematically review the level of nutrition knowledge in athletes, benchmark this against nonathlete comparison groups, and determine the impact of nutrition knowledge on dietary intake.
An extensive literature search from the earliest record to March 2010 using the terms nutrition knowledge or diet knowledge and athlete or sport was conducted. Included studies recruited able or physically disabled, male or female, competitive (recreational or elite) athletes over the age of 13 yr. Quantitative assessment of knowledge and, if available, diet intake was required. Because of variability in the assessment of nutrition knowledge and dietary intake, meta-analysis was not conducted.
Twenty-nine studies (17 published before 2000) measuring nutrition knowledge (7 including a nonathlete comparison group) met inclusion criteria. Athletes’ knowledge was equal to or better than that of nonathletes but lower than comparison groups including nutrition students. When found statistically significant, knowledge was greater in females than males. A weak (r < .44), positive association between knowledge and dietary intake was reported in 5 of 9 studies assessing this. Common flaws in articles included inadequate statistical reporting, instrument validation, and benchmarking.
The nutrition knowledge of athletes and its impact on their dietary intake is equivocal. There is a need for high-quality, contemporary research using validated tools to measure nutrition knowledge and its impact on dietary intake.
Catriona A. Burdon, Matthew W. Hoon, Nathan A. Johnson, Phillip G. Chapman and Helen T. O’Connor
The purpose of this study was to establish whether sensory factors associated with cold-beverage ingestion exert an ergogenic effect on endurance performance independent of thermoregulatory or cardiovascular factors.
Ten males performed three trials involving 90 min of steady state cycling (SS; 62% VO2max) in the heat (32.1 ± 0.9 °C, 40 ± 2.4% relative humidity) followed by a 4 kJ/kg body mass time trial (TT). During SS, participants consumed an identical volume (260 ± 38g) of sports beverage (7.4% carbohydrate) every 15 min as either ice slushy (–1 °C; ICE), thermoneutral liquid (37 °C; CON), or thermoneutral liquid consumption with expectorated ice slushy mouthwash (WASH).
Rectal temperature, hydration status, heart rate, and skin blood flow were not different between trials. Gastrointestinal (pill) temperature was lower in ICE (35.6 ± 2.7 °C) versus CON (37.4 ± 0.7 °C, p = .05). Heat storage tended to be lower with ICE during SS (14.7 ± 8.4W.m−2, p = .08) and higher during TT (68.9 ± 38.6W.m−2, p = .03) compared with CON (22.1 ± 6.6 and 31.4 ± 27.6W.m−2). ICE tended to lower the rating of perceived exertion (RPE, 12.9 ± 0.6, p = .05) and improve thermal comfort (TC, 4.5 ± 0.2; p = .01) vs. CON (13.8 ± 1.0 and 5.2 ± 0.2 respectively). WASH RPE (13.0 ± 0.8) and TC (4.8 ± 0.2) tended to be lower versus CON (p = .07 and p = .09 respectively). ICE improved performance (18:28 ± 1:03) compared with CON (20:24 ± 1:46) but not WASH (19:45 ± 1:43).
Improved performance with ICE ingestion likely resulted from the creation of a gastrointestinal heat sink, reducing SS heat storage. Although the benefits of cold-beverage consumption are more potent when there is ingestion, improved RPE, TC, and meaningful performance improvement with WASH supports an independent sensory effect of presenting a cold stimulus to the mouth.
Catriona A. Burdon, Helen T. O’Connor, Janelle A. Gifford and Susan M. Shirreffs
Increased core temperature (Tc), impaired cardiovascular function, and dehydration contribute to fatigue during prolonged exercise in the heat. Although many studies have examined mechanisms addressing these factors, few have investigated the effect of cold beverage temperature on thermoregulation and exercise performance in the heat.
Citations from MEDLINE (Ovid), Sport Discus (EBSCOhost), AUSPORT and AusportMed (Informit), Web of Science, and SCOPUS were identified from the earliest record until September 2008 using the search terms drink temperature, beverage temperature, fluid temperature, water temperature, and cold fluid combined with body temperature and thermoregulation. To be included, studies needed to assess core or rectal temperature during exercise in moderate or hot environmental conditions. After quality rating was completed by two reviewers, the difference in mean Tc and exercise performance was calculated.
Ten studies meeting search inclusion criteria were available for analysis. Three were excluded because sufficient detail or statistical data were not reported. A meta-analysis was not performed because the studies were deemed too different to group. Three of the remaining 7 studies found modulated Tc with cold beverage consumption, and from the 4 that conducted exercise performance tests, performance improved by 10% with cold fluids.
Cold fluid may attenuate Tc rise and improve exercise performance in the heat; however, study findings are mixed. Research using well-trained athletes and fluid-ingestion protocols replicating competition scenarios is required. Potential sensory effects of cold fluid in maintaining motivation also need to be assessed as a mechanism underpinning improved performance.
Catriona A. Burdon, Nathan A. Johnson, Phillip G. Chapman and Helen T. O’Connor
Beverage palatability is known to influence fluid consumption during exercise and may positively influence hydration status and help prevent fatigue, heat illness, and decreased performance.
The aims of this review were to evaluate the effect of beverage temperature on fluid intake during exercise and investigate the influence of beverage temperature on palatability.
Citations from multiple databases were searched from the earliest record to November 2010 using the terms beverage, fluid, or water and palatability, preference, feeding, and drinking behavior and temperature. Included studies (N = 14) needed to use adult (≥18 yr) human participants, have beverage temperatures ≤50 °C, and measure consumption during exercise and/or palatability.
All studies reporting palatability (n = 10) indicated that cold (0–10 °C) or cool (10–22 °C) beverages were preferred to warmer ones (control, ≥22 °C). A meta-analysis on studies reporting fluid consumption (n = 5) revealed that participants consumed ~50% (effect size = 1.4, 0.75–2.04, 95% CI) more cold/cool beverages than control during exercise. Subanalysis of studies assessing hydration status (n = 4) with consumption of cool/cold vs. warm beverages demonstrated that dehydration during exercise was reduced by 1.3% of body weight (1.6–0.9%, 95% CI; p < .001).
Cool beverage temperatures (<22 °C) significantly increased fluid palatability, fluid consumption, and hydration during exercise vs. control (≥22 °C).
Inge Spronk, Susan E. Heaney, Tania Prvan and Helen T. O’Connor
This study investigated the association between general nutrition knowledge and dietary quality in a convenience sample of athletes (> state level) recruited from four Australian State Sport Institutes. General nutrition knowledge was measured by the validated General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire and diet quality by an adapted version of the Australian Recommended Food Score (A-ARFS) calculated from food frequency questionnaire data. Analysis of variance and linear modeling were used to assess relationships between variables. Data: mean (Standard Deviation). A total of 101 athletes (Males: 37; Females: 64), 18.6 (4.6) years were recruited mainly from team sports (72.0%). Females scored higher than males for both nutrition knowledge (Females: 59.9%; Males: 55.6%; p = .017) and total A-ARFS (Females: 54.2% Males: 49.4%; p = .016). There was no significant influence of age, level of education, athletic caliber or team/individual sport participation on nutrition knowledge or total A-ARFS. However, athletes engaged in previous dietetic consultation had significantly higher nutrition knowledge (61.6% vs. 56.6%; p = .034) but not total A-ARFS (53.6% vs. 52.0%; p = .466). Nutrition knowledge was weakly but positively associated with total A-ARFS (r = .261, p= .008) and A-ARFS vegetable subgroup (r = .252, p = .024) independently explaining 6.8% and 5.1% of the variance respectively. Gender independently explained 5.6% of the variance in nutrition knowledge (p = .017) and 6.7% in total A-ARFS (p = .016). Higher nutrition knowledge and female gender were weakly but positively associated with better diet quality. Given the importance of nutrition to health and optimal sports performance, intervention to improve nutrition knowledge and healthy eating is recommended, especially for young male athletes.