Nutrition for the New Age: Does Online Education Increase Nutritional Knowledge in this Generation of Athletes?

Abstract

Abstract æIntroduction æIt is widely accepted that maintaining a healthful diet can lead to improved sport performance outcomes. However, research in the area shows deficits in athletesÍ nutrition knowledge. The purpose of this research is to investigate the effectiveness of online education on the nutritional knowledge of Division 1 collegiate athletes. æMethods æA total of 394 broadcast emails were sent to members of the varsity athletic teams at a NCAA division 1 university requesting participation in the study. æA total of 97 (25%) completed the informed consent and initial questionnaire. All subjects were varsity athletes, ages 18 years or older. æAll subjects were then randomly assigned to one of two groups. The experimental group watched a ten-minute online nutrition education module. The control group was asked to not participate in any nutritional education programs for the duration of the study. æBoth groups completed a follow up questionnaire reassessing their knowledge of nutrition. æResults æAll data were analyzed using SPSS version 18 with a paired sample t-test using a significance level of P<0.05. Preliminary results suggest there is a statistically significant increase in knowledge in the experimental group. æææConclusion An online nutrition education module may be effective at increasing the nutritional knowledge of Division 1 Collegiate athletes. æOnline education is an inexpensive way to educate athletes offering colleges and universities a cost effective way to increase nutritional knowledge resulting in improved health and athletic performance.