A qualitative investigation of factors influencing the dietary intakes of professional Australian football players
journal contributionposted on 03.05.2021, 01:49 by Sarah Jenner, Regina Belski, Brooke Devlin, A Coutts, T Kempton, Adrienne Forsyth
(1) Background: Many professional Australian Football (AF) players do not meet recom-mended sports nutrition guidelines despite having access to nutrition advice. There are a range of factors that can influence players′ ability to meet their nutrition goals and awareness of the barriers players face is essential to ensure that dietary advice translates into practice. Therefore, this qualitative research study aimed to explore the factors influencing AF players’ dietary intakes and food choice. (2) Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve professional male AF players. (3) Results: Less experienced players restricted their carbohydrate intake to meet body composition goals, particularly during preseason and surrounding body composition assessment. During the competition season players had a greater focus on performance and placed more emphasis on carbohydrate intake in the lead up to matches. Players felt nutrition goals were easier to achieve when dietary choices were supported by their families and peers. One-on-one consultations pro-vided by a sports dietitian were players′ preferred mode of nutrition intervention. Individualized nutrition advice is required for less experienced AF players who may be vulnerable to unsustainable dietary habits. Experienced AF players can support junior teammates by promoting positive team culture related to body composition, nutrition and performance.