The Media and the Message: Providing Reliable, Relevant and Cost Effective Nutrition Information to Varsity Athletes

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Weaver, Candace
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Varsity athletes lack the basic nutrition knowledge necessary for performance, recovery and health in general. This lack of knowledge puts them at risk of nutrition deficiencies, detrimental to health if not addressed. Furthermore, many universities struggle to find funding to support nutrition education programs that could alleviate this problem. While previous research has focused on identifying varsity athletesâ levels of nutrition knowledge and dietary practices, little research has been done on the development and assessment of education approaches for this group. The purpose of this study was to determine if the Spiral Technology Action Research (STAR) Model could be used to develop relevant, specific, accessible, and costeffective sports nutrition education materials for MSVU varsity athletes. Using the principles of Participatory Action Research (PAR), and based on the STAR Model, this research also explored the use of Internet-based media to develop and assess nutrition messages created with and for varsity athletes. With approval from the MSVU University Research Ethics Board, eight MSVU athletes volunteered to participate in focus groups to select the topics for the nutrition education messages and the media for their delivery. Feedback from participants revealed that they liked being a part of the process, and in particular being able to select the topics and the media used. Involving the athletes in the development and planning of the messages, established their relevance, accessibility and specificity. This study was the first to address an alternate approach of providing cost effective nutrition education to varsity athletes.
Nova Scotia , Education , Human nutrition , Halifax , Study and teaching , Nutrition , Health and hygiene , College athletes