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Pakistan Journal of Nutrition
Year: 2015  |  Volume: 14  |  Issue: 5  |  Page No.: 293 - 299

Assessment of Nutritional Knowledge, Dietary Habits and Nutrient Intake of University Student Athletes

Amanat Ali, Muhammad S. Al-Siyabi, Mostafa I. Waly and Hashem A. Kilani    

Abstract: Despite the importance of physical activity and training, the optimum nutrient intake and good nutritional knowledge have been recognized as important factors in improving the athletic performance and health status of athletes. The present study was conducted to assess the nutritional knowledge, dietary habits, nutrient intake and nutritional status of Sultan Qaboos University student athletes. A cross-sectional study design was used to achieve the objectives. Seventy one (49 male and 22 female) student athletes with a mean age of 21.0±1.81 and 19.32±0.72 years and body mass index (BMI) of 22.51±1.98 and 20.34±2.97 kg/m2 for male and female respectively, participated in study. All subjects were interviewed in person. The study questionnaire consisted of questions related to demographic information, nutritional knowledge and a 7-days food diary to identify nutrient intake, food frequency and variety of food consumption. Significant differences (p<0.05) were observed in the main sources of nutrition information used by the male and female athletes. The male subjects had most of the nutrition information from friends (17%) as compared to female subjects who relied on the family members (20%). Significant (p<0.05) differences were also observed in nutritional knowledge and dietary habits scores of male and female athletes (57 and 49%, respectively). Male athletes were classified to have fair nutritional knowledge and dietary habits, whereas the female athletes had poor nutritional knowledge and dietary habits. Mean daily energy (2595±358 kcal/day) as well as the macronutrients intake in male student athletes was within the recommended dietary intake allowance. Study identified some gaps in nutritional knowledge, dietary habits and barriers in physical activity among student athletes and suggests a need for developing strategies in counseling and teaching of athletes to improve their athletic performance and health promotion.

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