Date of Award

1-1-2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology

Department

Kinesiology

First Advisor

Disa Hatfield

Abstract

Importance and Objective: The justification for the current study is that 56.1% of youth (6-17) in the United States currently play sports and they ought to have access to high quality nutritional information. The primary hypothesis of the study is that youth athletes are obtaining most of their nutritional information from a combination of conversations with teammates, and the usage of the internet/ social media. The information obtained from this survey will both help coaches, athletes, and sports organizations develop better educational strategies to help athletes make more informed choices when it comes to supplementation usage, and in turn ensure fairer and more equitable sport participation.

Methods: In this cross-sectional survey-based study, of 164 adolescent athletes (113 males, 49 females, 1 identifying other, 1 missing response) between the ages of 14-18 sports nutritional supplementation knowledge was assessed via a customizable survey which was grounded in survey logic, meaning the survey adapted to individuals answer choices to allow for increased personalization while using the Qualtrics survey platform. Upon total data collection questions of interest including participants age, sex, nutritional information acquisition, sport season participated in, race, beliefs about supplements, and health risks about supplements were subseted out and analyzed in the R language with a custom script being written for data analysis. Bivariate statistical analysis and logistic regression analysis were used for data analysis with the creation of 11 predictive models with a statistical significance set to a p-value of less than 0.05. Additionally, to ensure the most thorough analysis possible after the initial linear regression analysis and adjusted linear regression model was created to account for the confounders of age, race (white/nonwhite), and season of sport which was grouped by season according to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League as (spring, winter, and fall) sports respectively.

Results: The results of this study indicated that though usage of the internet was the main source of supplementation information for the study sample with over 22 % (n=33) using the internet as the sole source of information, internet in conjunction with coaches and teammates advice did not prove to significantly impact supplementation behaviors upon adjustment for potential confounding factors. The unadjusted model was significant for internet versus coach (P value=0.066, OR:2.31). The adjusted model accounting for other variables seen in adjusted model was not statistically significant (P value=.13, OR: 1.82). Thus, this leads to further questions as to the nature of what underlying factors further explain these differences and as a result the hypothesis is partially refuted.

Conclusion: The strength of the association between usage of the internet and conversations with coaches being the primary source of nutritional information does not appear to be statistically significant when using a corrected logistic regression model accounting for a multitude of confounding variables. As a result, future research needs to be done with particular interest applied to racial, socioeconomic, and other explanatory variables regarding supplement information acquisition and how that may influence associated knowledge and beliefs.

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