Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Ruth Litchfield


A survey was used to examine high school coaches' nutrition confidence in their knowledge, knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Subjects' (N=1056) responses were evaluated by years of experience, gender of sport coach, and sport classification (weight-related vs. non-weight related). Overall, coaches' knowledge about sports nutrition was suboptimal; the mean knowledge score was 68.8%. Coaches with more experience had more knowledge (P<0.05). Coaches of boy sports displayed more confidence in their knowledge (P<0.01), better attitudes (P<0.05), but poorer practices (P<0.01) than coaches of girl sports. Finally, coaches of weight-related sports displayed more confidence in their knowledge (P<0.01), greater knowledge (P<0.01), and better attitudes (P<0.01), but poorer practices (P<0.01) than coaches of non-weight-related sports. Interestingly, nutrition knowledge was not associated with nutrition practices, indicating a need for nutrition education that incorporates higher levels of learning to improve nutrition practices.;A nutrition education intervention, 'Eat to Compete,' was developed to fill gaps in nutrition knowledge regarding fluids/dehydration, training diets, and dietary supplements. Pre-and post-questionnaires were used to evaluate changes in nutrition knowledge and program effectiveness. Nutrition knowledge improved with all three programs (P<0.01), with greater improvements with the 'fluids' and 'training diets' presentations and with school staff compared to athletes. Although nutrition knowledge improved immediately following nutrition education, long term changes in nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and practices are still unknown. A multi-dimensional approach to nutrition education is needed to improve nutrition cognition, not merely knowledge. Nutrition education that incorporates higher levels of learning, such as application, synthesis, and evaluation will encourage positive nutrition practices. Lastly, nutrition education should address information pertinent and specific to the intended audience and should ultimately lead to behavior change.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Andrea Camille Seminara



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

122 pages