Poster Topical Area: Sports Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 249
Purpose: This study was designed to investigate the nutrition knowledge, attitudes and beliefs toward nutrition, exercise and dietary habits of active adolescents compared to the general school population.
Methods: Participants included 128 middle school students (117 active) aged 11-15 years, and 48 high school students (40 active) aged 14-18 years. Demographic data, physical activity level and desire to learn about nutrition were self-reported through an open-ended survey. General nutrition knowledge (vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, protein, fiber), sport nutrition knowledge (supplement usage, hydration, energy and refueling, protein and exercise), dietary habits and attitudes toward nutrition education were collected via two electronic surveys.
Results: At the middle school level, 79.49% of students surveyed stated they felt they could benefit from advice about nutrition, while 92.50% of high school students surveyed stated they felt they could benefit. No significant differences were found in general nutrition knowledge, sport nutrition knowledge or total knowledge scores for active students compared to the knowledge scores of the general student population surveyed for the high school or middle school participants. The topic that scored the highest in both middle school and high school students was hydration (64.71%, 73.93% respectively), and the lowest score was protein and exercise for both groups (28.49%, 33.75% respectively). Knowledge about healthy eating reportedly comes from parents and coaches most frequently for both high school (82.50%, 80.00% respectively) and middle school students (93.16%, 73.50% respectively). Fourteen of the 40 active, high school participants surveyed feel their current diet meets their nutritional needs (35.00%) while 39% of active middle school participants (44 of 117 surveyed) stated their diet meets their nutritional needs.
Conclusion: Active middle school and high school students stated a desire to learn more about nutrition, but most of the nutrition information currently received comes from non-nutrition related professionals. There is room for improvement in general nutrition knowledge and sport nutrition knowledge in active adolescents in all topic areas.