Evaluation of the nutritional knowledge of professional track and field and triathlon athletes

Proper nutrition is the key to better sports performance. Therefore, satisfactory nutrition knowledge becomes important to the practice of healthy nutrition habits and, consequently, more efficient to performance. This study aimed to evaluate the nutrition knowledge of professional track and field athletes and triathletes with application of a scale previously validated in Brazil. The sample was composed of 50 athletes with mean age of 32.4 ± 11.1 years, being 37 of them (74%) male athletes. The athletes filled up a questionnaire containing questions on training, nutritionist appointments and the scale. Chi-square was used to associate the nutrition knowledge with the variables of educational background and nutritionist appointment and the Pearson Correlation Coefficients were used to correlate the ordinal variables, with significance rates of p< 0. 05. The athletes had trained for 9. 4 ± 8 years; 82% had high incomplete or complete educational level and 70% had already had a nutritionist appointment. The average of points in the scale was of 9.6 ± 2.2 points, which corresponds to the classification of "moderate nutrition knowledge", and the males showed higher score in the scale of nutrition knowledge than the females (p = 0.047) The educational level (p = 0.352) and nutritionist appointment (p = 0.285) variables had no correlation with nutrition knowledge results in the present study. However, the higher the educational level, the higher the number of athletes who had nutrition counseling. These results indicate the need of continuous education on nutrition for athletes, as well as further investigation which evaluates the nutrition knowledge in this sample.

athletes; athletic performance; nutrition education; nutrition; scale; sports

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