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Assessment of nutrition knowledge and sources of nutrition information among middle- and long-distance elite athletes in north rift region of Kenya

DM Kathure
PW Bukhala
SO Konyole


Diet influences athletes performance while the foods chosen in training and competition determines how well competitors prepare and compete. Competitors should know about their nourishing objectives and how they can choose an eating technique to meet those objectives. However, there exists paucity of literature expounding on that. Many athletes have limited knowledge on matters of nutrition, and their nutrition practices do not conform to athletes' requirements. The sources of nutrition information among this group are also conflicting. The purpose of this study was to assess the nutrition knowledge and sources of nutrition knowledge among middle (800m-2500km) and long-distance (≤3000km) elite athletes in North Rift Kenya. Using already trained research assistants, a total of 30 athletic camps in Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties were visited allowing a return of 374 questionnaires. Majority of the respondents were males at 74%, results on age revealed that 47 % were between 22-28 years old and most elite athletes (55%) had an experience of 3 years and below. About 62% participated in long-distance running and 72% had attained secondary school level of education. From the nutrition knowledge scores generated, most of the athletes had adequate nutrition knowledge (above 50 %). With regard to specific questions, 51.9% had no knowledge that iron supplements should only be taken when one has iron deficiency. About three quarters (75.4%) had the right knowledge that athletes should not train on an empty stomach. The internet was the major source of nutrition knowledge information and nutritionists were least consulted on matters sports nutrition. There were no differences in knowledge among the athletes at different age groups (p =.510). Therefore, it is recommended that nutrition professionals be incorporated as part of technical team so as to ensure increased awareness among the athletes. 

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eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358