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Investigating nutrition and hydration knowledge and practice among a cohort of age-grade rugby union players

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posted on 2024-02-19, 09:56 authored by Shane Scanlon, Catherine NortonCatherine Norton

Abstract: Optimal athletic performance relies on meeting specific nutritional requirements, encompassing adequate calorie intake, macronutrient intake, and hydration. Misinformation or misconceptions about these necessities are prevalent among young athletes. This study investigated nutrition and hydration knowledge and practices among 28 male rugby union players aged 16 to 17, participating in Munster Rugby’s 2023 Summer Age-Grade Development Programme, specifically the U18′s Schools Squad. The Nutrition for Sport Knowledge Questionnaire assessed nutrition knowledge, while the Hydration Assessment Questionnaire evaluated hydration knowledge. Urinalysis for hydration status utilised urine specific gravity measurements pre-exercise on five separate days (1.018 ± 0.008 Usg). Dietary intake was recorded using a 3-day estimated food intake record on the Libro App, analysed with Nutritics software(Version 9.50). Suboptimal nutrition knowledge (49.6 ± 8.2%) and dietary practices were observed, with incongruent nutrient intakes compared to recommendations for adolescent athletes. While superior hydration knowledge (79.0 (77.3, 83.6) %) was evident, pre-exercise urine specific gravity readings indicated significant variation (p < 0.001) and signs of dehydration (USG > 1.020 Usg). No statistically significant correlations were found between knowledge and practices. The study highlights suboptimal nutrition and hydration knowledge and practices in youth athletes, suggesting the need for tailored support and educational interventions to enhance their overall health and performance. Further investigation into barriers and facilitators to dietary adherence is recommended for more effective interventions.



Nutrients 16(14), 533



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