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A Systematic Review of Athletes' and Coaches' Nutrition Knowledge and Reflections on the Quality of Current Nutrition Knowledge Measures

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Context: Nutrition knowledge can influence dietary choices and impact on athletic performance. Valid and reliable measures are needed to assess the nutrition knowledge of athletes and coaches. Objectives: (1) To systematically review the published literature on nutrition knowledge of adult athletes and coaches and (2) to assess the quality of measures used to assess nutrition knowledge. Data Sources: MEDLINE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscuss, Web of Science, and SCOPUS. Study Selection: 36 studies that provided a quantitative measure of nutrition knowledge and described the measurement tool that was used were included. Data extraction: Participant description, questionnaire description, results (mean correct and responses to individual items), study quality, and questionnaire quality. Data synthesis: All studies were of neutral quality. Tools used to measure knowledge did not consider health literacy, were outdated with regards to consensus recommendations, and lacked appropriate and adequate validation. The current status of nutrition knowledge in athletes and coaches is difficult to ascertain. Gaps in knowledge also remain unclear, but it is likely that energy density, the need for supplementation, and the role of protein are frequently misunderstood. Conclusions: Previous reports of nutrition knowledge need to be interpreted with caution. A new, universal, up-to-date, validated measure of general and sports nutrition knowledge is required to allow for assessment of nutrition knowledge.


Gina Trakman is currently undertaking her PhD studies and receives a La Trobe University scholarship. Open access fee was funded by author's research funds.


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23p. (p. 1-23)





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© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (