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Background: Issues related to knowledge of nutrition and dietary supplementation (DS) are understudied in professional athletes. This study aimed to examine the possible association between knowledge of nutrition and DS (KN&DS) and dietary supplement use (DSU) among professional athletes involved in team sports. Methods: The sample comprised professional team-sport athletes (N = 912, age: 22.11 ± 3.37 years, 356 females) involved in four Olympic sports: basketball (N = 228), soccer (N = 324), volleyball (N = 154), and handball (N = 206). The participants were tested by previously validated questionnaires to examine their self-perceived competence on nutrition and DS (S/KN&DS), their objectively evaluated (tested) KN&DS (O/KN&DS), sociodemographic and sport-specific variables (predictors), and DSU (criterion). Associations between the predictors and the criterion (No-DSU - Irregular-DSU - Regular-DSU) were determined by multinomial regression analysis for the total sample and separately for the studied sports. Results: DSU was found to be less prevalent in older and more successful players. The O/KN&DS and S/KN&DS were positively correlated with DSU, but S/KN&DS was a stronger predictor of DSU than O/KN&DS. Sport-specific associations between predictors and criterion were identified, with stronger correlations in sports with a higher prevalence of DSU. Conclusions: Due to the low correlations between O/KN&DS and S/KN&DS in the studied players, this study highlights the necessity for more frequent monitoring of biomarkers of nutritional status and its usage by coaches and practitioners to provide quantitative instruction.
Sekulic, D., Tahiraj, E., Maric, D., Olujic, D., Bianco, A., & Zaletel, P. (2019). What drives athletes toward dietary supplement use: Objective knowledge or self-perceived competence? Cross-sectional analysis of professional team-sport players from Southeastern Europe during the competitive season. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-019-0292-9
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