• Nutritional knowledge and dietary habits of professional and semi-professional football players

      Alford, Simon (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2004-03)
      Nutritional knowledge, sports nutrition and dietary habits were investigated using a questionnaire completed by 21 professional and 24 semi-professional football players, aged 18 to over 35 years. A number of misconceptions were discovered. Areas where improvements in understanding are required include: fluids and how dehydration can affect performance and be avoided; protein sources, the required intake and how it plays a role in the diet; and use of nutritional supplements, including creatine, and how they \ play a role within the diet and can affect performance. Such misconceptions were in line with previous findings in the literature. Areas of good understanding were found to include fats, pre-match meals, weight control and carbohydrates. Correlations were evident between nutritional scores and age (r = 0.36, p < 0.05) and highest levels of education (r = 0.36, p < 0.05). Those players sourcing information from magazines were also found to score significantly (r = 0.30, p <0.05) higher. Once again, such correlations were similar to previous athletic groups studied by others. No correlation was found between total scores and the levels of playing, the time players last received nutritional training or any other sources of nutritional information. Between playing levels, players were found to have no significant (p > 0.05) difference with regards to habits of eating and drinking before matches and training. Both professional and semi-professional players consumed similar levels of fluid, including sports drinks. Meals were also eaten at the same time between professional and semi-professional players, in line with recommended practice, to maximise performance. The knowledge of the semi-professional players compared similarly to that of the professional players, with no significant (p > 0.05) difference found in total score regarding questions on nutritional knowledge.