An investigation of dietary intake, nutrition knowledge and hydration status of Gaelic Football players.

Conor McCrink, Emeir M. McSorley, Kirsty Grant, AM McNeilly, Pamela Magee

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Abstract

Purpose: To assess the dietary intake, nutrition knowledge and hydration status of Irish Gaelic footballers. Method: One hundred and sixty-eight male club/county level Irish Gaelic footballers (median [IQR]; age 23 years [20.0, 27.0]; height 1.79 m [1.74, 1.84]; body mass 78.0 kg [73.5, 84.8]) participated in this cross-sectional study. Dietary intake was assessed using a 4-day semi-quantitative food record, with the application of Goldberg cut-offs to define acceptable reporters (n = 62). Nutrition knowledge was assessed using the validated Nutrition for Sport Knowledge Questionnairen a sub-group of athletes (n = 24), while hydration status was measured using urine specific gravity pre-exercise (USG) in 142 athletes. Results: Dietary analysis indicated an energy deficit at the group level (485 kcal [IQR 751,6]) (p < 0.001), with carbohydrate intakes (3.6 g/kg [IQR 3.0,4.1]) below current guidelines for athletes participating in one hour moderate intensity exercise per day (5–7 g/kg; p < 0.001). Average vitamin D (3.8 µg [IQR 1.8, 5.5]) and selenium intakes (54.2 µg [47.2, 76.7]) were significantly below the reference nutrient intakes (p < 0.001). A high proportion of individual athletes also had sub-optimal intakes for: vitamin D (95.2%), selenium (72.6%), vitamin A (38.7%), potassium (30.6%), zinc (25.8%), magnesium (19.4%) and calcium (12.9%). Nutrition knowledge was deemed poor (40.2 ± 12.4%), while pre-exercise hydration status (median USG 1.010 [IQR 1.005, 1.017]) was significantly below the cut-off to denote dehydration (1.020; p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that Irish Gaelic footballers have sub-optimal dietary practices and lack nutrition knowledge. Individualised nutrition support may benefit these athletes to meet their nutrition requirements, to support health and performance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Early online date30 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Carbohydrate
  • NSKQ
  • Team sport

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