Assessing the Outcomes of a Brief Nutrition Education Intervention Among Division I Football Student-Athletes at Moderate Altitude
Authors: Sam T. Lawson, Julia C. Gardner, Mary Jo Carnot, Samuel S. Lackey, Nanette V. Lopez, and Jay T. Sutliffe
Jay Sutliffe, PD, RD
Flagstaff AZ, 86011
Sam T. Lawson is an undergraduate research assistant and student at Northern Arizona University.
Julia C. Gardner is a research coordinator with the PRANDIAL Lab at Northern Arizona University. Mary Jo Carnot is professor of Counseling, Psychological Sciences, and Social Work at Chadron State College in Chadron, NE.
Samuel S. Lackey is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Northern Arizona University.
Nanette V. Lopez is Assistant Professor in Health Sciences at Northern Arizona University.
Jay T. Sutliffe is Professor of Nutrition and Foods and the Director of the PRANDIAL Lab at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ.
Assessing the Outcomes of a Brief Nutrition Education Intervention Among Division 1 Football Student-Athletes at Moderate Altitude
HEI: healthy eating index
DGA: Dietary Guidelines for Americans
USDA: United States Department of Agriculture
RDA: recommended dietary allowance
RM: repetition maximum
College students are notorious for having poor quality diets and student-athletes are no exception. Collegiate football student-athletes often fail to meet overall energy requirements necessary to meet activity demands (65). The research herein assessed diet quality, body composition and physical performance of selected student athletes following completion of a brief, 8-week nutrition education intervention. The participants consisted of 55 Division I collegiate football players, aged 18-24 years (mean age 19.8±1.2yrs). Results indicated that group education sessions on nutrition had minimal impact on outcomes, perhaps due to the voluntary nature of the training. However, independent of the intervention, there were significant changes across time for the total scores on the Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015), strength performance measures, and total body water. Participants with higher HEI-2015 scores versus lower scores did not differ on strength performance or body composition outcomes. Specific nutrients, including sodium, protein, and solid fats negatively impacted strength performance, especially for the bench press measures. At moderate altitudes, athletes may struggle to maintain sufficient hydration (41). In this study, athletes with higher hydration levels (based on total body water and extracellular water) improved performance from pre to post assessments of strength performance in bench press, back squat, and power clean. The results highlight the importance of nutrition on athletic performance, especially the negative impact of unhealthy choices. Educational sessions on nutrition designed to improve eating habits may need to consider social influences, including everyday eating situations, via a combination of group and individualized approaches.(more…)