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Evaluation of a Theory-Based Intervention Aimed at Improving Coaches’ Recommendations on Sports Nutrition to Their Athletes

      Abstract

      Background

      Coaches are a major source of nutrition information and influence for young athletes. Yet, most coaches do not have training in nutrition to properly guide their athletes.

      Objective

      The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention aimed at improving the accuracy of coaches’ recommendations on sports nutrition.

      Design

      This was a quasi-experimental study with a comparison group and an intervention group. Measurements were made at baseline, post-intervention, and after a 2-month follow-up period. Coaches’ recommendations on sports nutrition during the follow-up period were recorded in a diary.

      Participants/setting

      High school coaches from various sports (n=41) were randomly assigned to a comparison group or an intervention group.

      Intervention

      Both groups attended two 90-minute sessions of a theory-based intervention targeting determinants of coaches’ intention to provide recommendations on sports nutrition. The intervention group further received an algorithm that summarizes sports nutrition guidelines to help promote decision making on sports nutrition recommendations.

      Main outcome measures

      Nutrition knowledge and accuracy of coaches’ recommendations on sports nutrition.

      Statistical analysis performed

      χ2 analyses and t-tests were used to compare baseline characteristics; mixed and general linear model analyses were used to assess the change in response to the intervention and differences in behaviors, respectively.

      Results

      Coaches in the intervention vs comparison group provided more nutrition recommendations during the 2-month post-intervention period (mean number of recommendations per coach 25.7±22.0 vs 9.4±6.5, respectively; P=0.004) and recommendations had a greater accuracy (mean number of accurate recommendations per coach 22.4±19.9 [87.1%] vs 4.3±3.2 [46.1%], respectively; P<0.001). Knowledge was significantly increased post-intervention in both groups, but was maintained only in the intervention group during the 2-month follow-up (Pgroup*time=0.04).

      Conclusions

      A theory-based intervention combined with a decision-making algorithm maintained coaches’ sports nutrition knowledge level over time and helped them to provide more accurate recommendations on sports nutrition.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      R. Jacob is a doctoral candidate, Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, School of Nutrition, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada; at the time of the study, she was a master’s of science student, Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, School of Nutrition, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.

      Biography

      B. Lamarche is a professor, Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, School of Nutrition, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.

      Biography

      V. Provencher is an associate professor, Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, School of Nutrition, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.

      Biography

      C. Laramée is a research assistant, Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, School of Nutrition, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada; at the time of the study, she was a master’s of science student, Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, School of Nutrition, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.

      Biography

      P. Valois is a professor, Department of Educational Fundamentals and Practices, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.

      Biography

      C. Goulet is a professor, Physical Education Department, PEPS, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.

      Biography

      V. Drapeau is an associate professor, Physical Education Department, PEPS, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.