Nutrition Knowledge and Intake in Division I HBCU Athletes

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Tiffany Fuller, Dr. Marc Cook, Dr. Heather Colleran

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2021


Adequate dietary intake with appropriate macronutrient intake may help optimize nutritional status for athletic performance. Nutrition education may help student-athletes (SA) manage energy intake with some success. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess nutritional knowledge and intake of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I SA at a historically black college or university (HBCU). Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (NKQ 56-question) administered with Qualtrics to SA (n=300). The NKQ (total score=110) contains four sections: I-Dietary Recommendations (maximum=11); II-Sources of Foods/Nutrients (maximum=69); III-Choosing Everyday Foods (maximum=10); and IV-Diet/Disease Relationship (maximum =20). Additionally, a separate cohort of athletes (n=28) recorded dietary intake for 3-days. Dietary data was entered into Nutrition Data System for Research (UMinn. NCC). Participation was voluntary. NKQ (n=64): 21.3% response rate, 42% male, 58% females and a total NKQ Score of 38.8+24.1. Scores for each section: I-5.3+2.9; II-26.4+17.9; III-3.0+2.3 and IV-4.2+3.3. Dietary intake (n=28), 46% female, 53% male with a resting energy expenditure of 11.3 kcal/kg. Actual energy intake: 17.5 kcal/kg, carbohydrates 2.2g/kg, and 0.7 g/kg for protein and fat. Despite the small sample size, nutritional knowledge in SA at a HBCU was noticeably poor coupled with low energy consumption. Consistent nutritional screening or guidance has not been available to SA who participated in both studies. However, the findings raise awareness for the need for a registered sports dietitian for nutrition education. Future research will look to develop nutritional programs aimed at improving nutritional knowledge to educate SA about the importance of nutrition and performance.

*Corresponding author: Heather L Colleran, Ph.D. RDN,

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