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Fiona E. Pelly and Sarah J. Burkhart

The aim of this study was to investigate the dietary regimens reported by athletes competing at a major international competition and report whether these were based on nutrient composition, religious beliefs, cultural eating style, food intolerance or avoidance of certain ingredients. A questionnaire was randomly distributed to 351 athletes in the main dining hall of the athletes’ village over the three main meal periods during the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games (23rd Sept—14th Oct, 2010). The majority (n = 218, 62%) of athletes reported following one or more dietary regimens, with 50% (n = 174) following a diet based on the nutrient composition of the food. Significantly more athletes from weight category and aesthetic sports (28%, p = .005) and from power/sprint sports (41%, p = .004) followed low fat and high protein regimens respectively. Other specialized dietary regimens were followed by 33% of participants, with avoidance of red meat (13%), vegetarian (7%), Halal (6%), and low lactose regimens (5%) reported most frequently. Significantly more athletes from non-Western regions followed a vegetarian diet (p < .001), while more vegetarians reported avoiding additives (p = .013) and wheat (p ≤ .001). A Western style of eating was the most commonly reported cultural regimen (72% of total with 23% from non-Western regions). Those following a Western diet were significantly more likely to report following a regimen based on nutrient composition (p = .02). As a high proportion of athletes from differing countries and sports follow specialized dietary regimens, caterers and organizers should ensure that adequate nutrition support and food items are available at similar events.

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Sarah J. Burkhart and Fiona E. Pelly

The aim of this study was to investigate whether athletes’ opinion of food provision in the main dining hall of the athletes’ village at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games varied according to cultural background, sport, stage of competition, and previous experience at similar events. A previously developed questionnaire was distributed over 3 meal periods to 351 athletes dining in the main dining hall during the course of the games (Sept. 23 to Oct. 4, 2010). Despite the challenges of food provision in a non-Western region, the availability of food and beverage items was rated highly. However, athletes from Western regions tended to rate food provision qualities lower than athletes from non-Western regions. Most athletes found it easy to find items to meet their nutrition needs; however, requests for sports foods, snacks, and culturally specific items were received. Power/sprint athletes were more critical of the food provision, whereas athletes from aesthetic sports tended to rate it more highly. Athletes farther from competition gave higher ratings for taste, while athletes who had more experience in this type of environment also tended to be more critical of the food provision. Overall daily mean opinion scores for taste and menu variety decreased over the games period. The results of this study can help organizers and caterers ensure that appropriate food and beverage are provided for athletes at major competition events.

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Fiona Pelly, Nanna L. Meyer, Jeni Pearce, Sarah J. Burkhart and Louise M. Burke

The aim of this study was to evaluate the food provision and nutrition support at the London 2012 Olympic (OG) and Paralympic Games (PG) from the perspective of sports nutrition experts attending the event. Participants (n = 15) were asked to complete an online survey and rate on a Likert scale menu qualities, food safety, sustainability practices, nutrition labeling, and provision for cultural needs, dietary regimes and specific situations. Open-ended responses were incorporated to explore expert opinion and areas for improvement. Participants rated their overall experience of the food provision as 7.6 out of 10 (range 5 to 10), with the majority (n = 11) rating it greater than 7. The variety, accessibility, presentation, temperature, and freshness of menu items rated as average to good. A below average rating was received for recovery food and beverages, provision of food for traveling to other venues, taking suitable snacks out of the dining hall and provision of food at other venues. However, the variety and accessibility of choices for Ramadan, and provision of postcompetition food were rated highly. A number of comments were received about the lack of gluten free and lower energy/fat items. The inclusion of allergens on nutrition labeling was considered more important than nutrient content. While dietetic review of the menu in advance of the OG and PG is clearly a valuable process that has resulted in improvements in the food supply, there are still areas that need to be addressed that are currently not implemented during the event.