College athletes; Dehydration (Physiology); Dietary supplements; Food habits; Southwest, New


Training and competing in desert environments may exacerbate concerns related to disordered eating, supplement use, and hydration in some student athlete populations. A survey administered equitably to both genders solicited self-reported responses from members of 18 different teams over four years from a southwestern United States university athletic program. More than 1,700 athletes responded to 42 items on the questionnaire. Teams, not individual student athletes, were the units of measure for statistical analyses. Initial analysis of results indicated that there were no overt concerns regarding dietary behaviors due to training and competing in the desert environment. Further analysis subjected the team responses to principle component factor analysis and determined the construct validity using Varimax rotation with Kaiser normalization. Six factors were identified which accounted for 93% of total variance associated with reported risky dietary related behaviors among athletic teams. Specifically, the factors contributing to dietary related behavior total variance were; 1) weight loss and exercise issues and practices -47.15%, 2) self-image - 26.00%, 3) hydration - 10.92%, 4) supplement use - 3.85%, 5) disordered eating - 3.70%, and 6) hormonal issues - 1.71%. University athletic programs should use routine assessment of dietary related behaviours, including hydration, to help identify team members practicing risky dietary related behaviours.