Differences in Collegiate Athlete Nutrition Knowledge as Determined by Athlete Characteristics

Submitted by Allisha M. Weeden, Janette Olsen, John M. Batacan, Teri Peterson

Allisha M. Weeden is an Assistant Professor in the Dietetic Programs at Idaho State University.  Janette Olsen is an Assistant Professor in Health Education at Idaho State University.  John M. Batacan is an Assistant Professor in Health Education at Idaho State University.  Teri Peterson is an Assistant Professor in the College of Business at Idaho State University.


PURPOSE:  To identify nutrition knowledge based on collegiate sport, where nutrition knowledge was lacking, and specific nutrition related concerns of collegiate athletes.

METHODS: The cross-sectional study evaluated responses to a 65-item written questionnaire.   Participants (n=174; female=88, male=86) competed in 13 different NCAA sanctioned sports.  Nutrition knowledge scores calculated from the number of nutrition knowledge questions correct then converted to a percent from the number of questions correctly answered.  Frequencies, Chi-square, and t-tests were used to report and compare nutrition knowledge scores.

RESULTS: The mean nutrition knowledge score of participants was 56.4% ± 13.4%.  Higher nutrition knowledge scores were associated with completion of a collegiate nutrition course (p = 0.015), participation in individual sports (p = 0.043), and citation of healthcare professionals as the primary source of nutrition information (p = 0.008).  Forty-two percent reported nutrition concerns related to what and how to eat healthy.

CONCLUSIONS:  Collegiate athletes lacked nutrition knowledge and expressed concerns surrounding what and how to eat healthy.  Completion of a collegiate level nutrition course may benefit collegiate athletes, especially those that do not have access to a Registered Dietitian (RD).

APPLICATIONS IN SPORT: Collegiate athletes, athletic departments, and even universities all benefit from successful sports teams.  Nutrition can be a big part of success and the use of a RD to educate athletes ensures appropriate nutrition knowledge is provided.  For universities with financial constraints collegiate level nutrition courses and small group cooking classes taught by an RD may still benefit collegiate athletes.

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An Athlete’s Nutritional Answer

Submitted by John Stump, DC, PhD, EdD

John Stump is the clinic director at the Integrative Medicine Centre. A consultant and partner in Sportec International, a Fairhope, AL, based sport and fitness consulting company. He is also a National Faculty member of the United States Sports Academy


The year of the Olympics is a special time for athletes everywhere. Health care professionals find it difficult to recognize a case of Chronic Fatigue of a former college track athlete who persisted on despite her infirmity to qualify for the Olympics. The patient had an acute onset of symptoms not consistent with any condition but general fatigue. Blood studies and additional tests indicated a fatigue syndrome consistent with that of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She was placed on a specific nutritional program for four months and shortly afterward was back to long distance running.

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The “Football Family” as a Supportive Academic Environment: A Study of Varsity Athletes

Submitted by Dr. Francois Gravelle, Ph.D., Dr. George Karlis, Ph.D., and Ezechiel Rothschild-Checroune.

Dr. François Gravelle P.h.D., University of Ottawa, School of Human Kinetics, 125 University private, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5. E-mail: fgravel@uottawa.ca. Tel.: 613-562-5800 (2442) Dr. Gravelle is also an adjunct professor at the Département d’études en loisir, culture et tourisme” at the University of Québec in Trois-Rivières.

Dr. George Karlis, University of Ottawa, School of Human Kinetics, 125 University private, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5. E-mail: gkarlis@uottawa.ca. Tel.: 613-562-5800 (2452)

Ezechiel Rothschild-Checroune, M.A. PhD Student, University of Toronto, Department of Exercise Sciences, 55 Harbord St., Toronto ON, M5S 2W6. E-mail: zeke.rothschild.checroune@mail.utoronto.ca.


The challenge of adjusting from secondary school to a new university setting and adapting to the dynamic systems of academic and athletic programs can be overwhelming. The supportive interaction between athletes and coaches may play a key role for academic success. These important considerations encouraged this study to examine the perceptions of varsity athletes toward the “football family” as a supportive academic environment. The intent of this study was to examine the influence of the “football family” – rookies, veterans, and coaches – on academic success. Phenomenological qualitative research was the approach employed to examine the perceptions of 12 first year university football student athletes at a Canadian university toward the “football family” as a supportive academic environment. The results indicated that the “football family” provided a supportive academic environment for the varsity football players. Specifically the results revealed that: (1) rookies share the most experiences with other football rookies at university, (2) rookies engaged academically with each other by going to class and working on academic projects together, (3) rookies vicariously learn from each others’ mistakes, (4) veterans helped rookies with both athletics and academics, (5) veterans’ experience provided unique learning opportunities than those gained from other rookies, (6) veterans acted as role models, (7) coaches were viewed as fatherly figures in the football family, (8) coaches have greater academic influence towards engagement than professors, and (9) coaches acted as life coaches pushing a family first, school second, football third mentality. It was concluded that the “football family” can provide a supportive academic environment for rookies adjusting to university.

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Effects of Circuit Resistance Training on Body Composition and Bone Status in Young Males

Submitted by Yilmaz Ucan

Dr. Ucan is the chairman of the AIBU Sports Club and is responsible for the university fitness and health center.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of circuit type resistance training on body composition and bone status in young males.  Twenty eight moderately active male volunteers were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of circuit resistance training (CRT) (n=15; 24.3±1.4 years) or control (C) (n=13; 24.8±2.1 years).  Total body fat (%BF), fat mass (FM), fat-free mass (FFM), bone mineral content, and bone mineral density (BMD) measurements were performed with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.  At the end of the 12-week training period, there was a decrease (p<.05) in the CRT group %BF (-1.63%), FM (-1.03kg), an increase in FFM (1.46kg), and no change (p>.05) in body weight or BMD.  In C, no significant (p>.05) changes were observed.  CRT bone mineral density values were significantly (p<.05) higher (.003g/cm2) after the 12 week training period versus the control group values (-.005g/cm2).

Results suggest that 12 weeks of circuit resistance training in moderately active young males had a positive effect on body composition and bone status, with no effect on body weight.  Additional studies may identify effects of circuit resistance training on body composition and bone mineral density in women and aging.

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Winning by Deemphasizing Winning: Establishing Climates for Moral Development in Sports

Submitted by Luke Nielsen

Luke Nielsen is an educator and strength and conditioning coach at Saint Ansgar High School in Saint Ansgar, Iowa. He received his Master of Sports Science degree from the United States Sports Academy, and is currently pursuing a terminal degree through the Academy.


Purpose: This article was adapted from an unpublished essay previously submitted by the author as a course requirement for SAB 634: Ethics in Sports at the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama. The essay is intended to provide coaches and athletics administrators—specifically those operating within the frameworks of high school, club, and non-profit-generating collegiate programs—with a sound functional overview of existing research related to the influence of the program climate on the moral development of athletes and to offer suggestions for the implementation of research-supported techniques aimed at eliciting high levels of positive moral development. Methods: A broad range of existing literature related to the moral development of athletes was compiled, examined, analyzed, and disseminated. Results: The examined research findings suggest that moral development is rooted in emotional contexts and develops from a high level of externalization toward autonomy. Furthermore, existing research clearly supports a strong positive correlation between the social environment, the motivational orientation of athletes, and moral development. Specifically, coaches who model and support autonomous moral behaviors maintain the most positive influence on the healthy moral development of athletes; and athletes possessing high task-ego goal orientations tend to have the highest levels of moral functioning. Conclusions: Due to their inherently emotional constructs and the progressive development of skills toward autonomy associated with sports, athletics serve as an ideal environment for moral development. By deemphasizing winning as an end goal in order to support task goal orientation and healthy competition, sports programs can effectively promote positive moral development. Applications in Sports: Athletics organizations that claim to exist for the developmental benefit of the participating athletes—specifically non-revenue generating athletics entities—must examine and implement sound research-supported strategies associated with the moral development of athletes. By developing an understanding of the concepts identified and incorporating the practices prescribed within this essay, coaches and athletics administrators may establish sports programs that effectively promote positive moral development.

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