Dietary Behaviors & Perceived Nutrition Availability of Small College Student-Athletes: a Pilot Project

Authors: Anthony Randles

Corresponding Author:
Anthony Randles, Ph.D., MPH
Education and Arts Bldg. 2239
1002 South Esther Street, P.O. Box 7111
South Bend, IN 46334-7111
Randlest@iusb.edu
574-520-4693

Anthony Randles is a Lecturer at Indiana University South Bend, School of Education, Health, Physical Education and Recreation Program

Dietary Behaviors & Perceived Nutrition Availability of Small College Student-Athletes: a Pilot Project

ABSTRACT
Purpose: The objective of this project was to investigate dietary behaviors and perceived food availability for small college student athletes.

Methods: Two-hundred seventy-two student athletes from a Midwestern urban city participated in this study. Students-athletes received an electronic consent form and a dietary survey containing question about demographics, food frequency, perceived nutrition environment and food security.

Results: The project indicated that athletes reported eating limited fruit and vegetables. Athletes also reported that fruit was available to them mostly as either “always” (41.9%) or “often” (25%) and responded that vegetables were available “always” (45.2%) or “often” (27.2%). Chi-Square indicated that there were significant differences between male and female athletes when reporting specific items.

Conclusion: There is a need for continued nutritional tracking to understand dietary habits of small-college athletes, and whether they have the available food needed for athletic and academic success. In addition, effective nutrition interventions are needed to improve dietary intake: not only for performance, but also for health.

Application in Sport: Understanding nutritional behaviors, motivators, and knowledge are essential for coaches and administrators. Tracking of dietary behaviors should allow key personnel to develop interventions for a team or identify problematic issues such as eating disorders, and injury recovery.
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