Publication Date

Spring 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging


Clarie B. Hollenbeck


American Football, Athlete, College Football, Diet, Nutrition Education, Training Table

Subject Areas

Nutrition; Sports management; Education


Since collegiate football is a revenue generating sport for many institutions, it is likely that these athletes are under pressure to maximize performance and thus may resort to unsafe or unproven nutritional practices. Athletes lacking nutrition knowledge may not be able to adequately nourish themselves, which may negatively impact their performance and overall health. In the literature, it is indicated that the athletic staff is a source of nutrition knowledge for athletes. However, the training table - which is a meal provided by the athletic staff, has previously not been explored as an avenue for nutrition education and intervention. This study evaluated the effect of training table based nutrition education and menu modification in a sample of 12 collegiate football players. Nine completed the protocol as designed while three were self-selected controls. Food intake was analyzed over three weeks during the three study phases - baseline (2 days), nutrition education (1 day), and combination treatment (2 days). Performance-related nutrition education was provided to nine participants in a 1-hour guided discussion, group session and reinforced at the training table. Combination treatment included continued nutrition education with menu modification in the form of addition of fresh fruit and 1% chocolate milk to the menu. Addition of these items did not increase the food cost for the program. All subjects had access to the same meals but the control group did not receive any nutrition education. A Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to analyze intra-individual differences in knowledge and food intake. Results indicated that nutrition education significantly increased nutrition knowledge in the intervention group only (P = 0.018). Similarly, combination treatment significantly increased intake of fresh fruit and 1% chocolate milk in the intervention group only (P = 0.008). Therefore, the training table may be a viable and an inexpensive avenue for improving the nutrition knowledge and diet quality of athletes.