Award Date

12-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences

First Committee Member

John Young

Second Committee Member

Richard Tandy

Third Committee Member

James Navalta

Fourth Committee Member

Mark Guadognoli

Fifth Committee Member

Tim Bungum

Number of Pages

109

Abstract

Involvement in collegiate sports among female athletes is at an all-time high with approximately 198,000 currently participating, (National Collegiate Athletic Association, 2012). With this increase in female participation in collegiate sports, the pressures of sport participation and academics lead some women to engage in harmful eating behaviors. These harmful eating behaviors may lead to the development of disordered eating (C. Johnson, Powers, & Dick, 1999; Quatromoni, 2008; Reel, SooHoo, Petrie, Greenleaf, & Carter, 2010; Reinking & Alexander, 2005). Many factors have been identified as contributing to the development of disordered eating but nutrition knowledge or lack thereof, has yet to be fully investigated as a potential risk factor. Female collegiate athletes may be at significant risk for disordered eating and identification of nutrition knowledge as a risk factor will aid in development of prevention and treatment interventions (Abood, Black, & Birnbaum, 2004; Schwitzer, Bergholz, Dore, & Salimi, 1998; Torres-McGehee et al., 2011). Limited information exists pertaining to the relationship between nutrition knowledge and disordered eating risk among female athletes in general (Raymond-Barker, Petroczi, & Quested, 2007) and none exists specifically for female collegiate athletes. The objective of this investigation is to determine if a relationship exists between sports nutrition knowledge and eating disorder risk in female collegiate athletes.

This research study sought to describe the correlational relationship between the variables of nutrition knowledge and disordered eating risk using the assessment tools Nutrition Knowledge & Screening (NKS) questionnaire and Female Athlete Screening Tool (FAST) questionnaire. Two hundred four female collegiate athletes completed the two questionnaires. Demographic, questionnaires and statistical data were analyzed.

The mean NKS score for all athletes was 19.2/31 (62% correct). The mean FAST score for all athletes was 59.5 which indicate that, overall, female collegiate athletes were asymptomatic. However, 19 athletes' scores classify them as having subclinical symptoms of eating disorders. Correlation analysis of NKS and FAST scores showed no correlation r (202) = -.014; p = .56. Evaluation of athletes who classified as having subclinical symptoms of eating disorders showed a significant positive correlation r (17) = .051; p = .03 between nutrition knowledge and a subclinical eating disorder risk.

This study suggests that although female collegiate athletes have poor nutrition knowledge it does not appear to be correlated to eating disorder risk. However, a relationship may exist between nutrition knowledge and eating disorder risk for individuals identified as exhibiting subclinical symptoms of eating disorders. Further investigation of this topic identifying female collegiate athletes with confirmed eating disorders will better clarify this relationship.

Keywords

Eating disorders; Eating disorders – Prevention; Female athletes; Knowledge; Nutrition; Nutrition – Study and teaching; Women college athletes

Disciplines

Human and Clinical Nutrition | Nutrition | Psychology | Sports Studies

Language

English


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