The Impact of a 'Remotely-Delivered' Sports Nutrition Education Program on Dietary Intake and Nutrition Knowledge of Junior Elite Triathletes

Xuedan Tan, Natalie Rogers, Nancy Brown, Melanie MacDonald, Amy-Lee Bowler, Gregory R Cox

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Abstract

Triathlon is a physically demanding sport, requiring athletes to make informed decisions regarding their daily food and fluid intake to align with daily training. With an increase in uptake for online learning, remotely delivered education programs offer an opportunity to improve nutritional knowledge and subsequent dietary intake in athletes. This single-arm observational study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a remotely delivered nutrition education program on sports nutrition knowledge and the dietary intake of junior elite triathletes ( n = 21; female n = 9; male n = 12; 18.9 ± 1.6 y). A total of 18 participants completed dietary intake assessments (4-day food diary via Easy Diet Diary TM) and 14 participants completed an 83-question sports nutrition knowledge assessment (Sports Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (SNKQ)) before and after the 8-week program. Sports nutrition knowledge scores improved by 15% ( p < 0.001, ES = 0.9) following the program. Male participants reported higher energy intakes before (3348 kJ, 95% CI: 117-6579; p = 0.043) and after (3644 kJ, 95% CI: 451-6836; p = 0.028) the program compared to females. Carbohydrate intake at breakfast ( p = 0.022), daily intakes of fruit ( p = 0.033), dairy ( p = 0.01) and calcium ( p = 0.029) increased following nutrition education. Irrespective of gender, participants had higher intakes of energy ( p < 0.001), carbohydrate ( p = 0.001), protein ( p = 0.007), and fat ( p = 0.007) on heavy training days compared to lighter training days before and after the program with total nutrition knowledge scores negatively correlated with discretionary food intake ( r = -0.695, p = 0.001). A remotely delivered nutrition education program by an accredited sports nutrition professional improved sports nutrition knowledge and subsequent dietary intake of junior elite triathletes, suggesting remote delivery of nutrition education may prove effective when social distancing requirements prevent face-to-face opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5203
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022

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