Dietary Supplementation Practices among Varsity Athletes at a Canadian University
Additional Document Info
BACKGROUND: Given the risks of inadvertent doping associated with dietary supplement (DS) use, it is critical to explore the extent of dependence of varsity athletes on DS to improve performance and support recovery. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into dietary supplementation practices among varsity athletes in a university setting in Ontario, Canada. METHODS: An online DS use questionnaire was completed by 302 varsity athletes (30.5% male, 69.5% female; 20.5 ± 1.8-year old) who were competing in intermittent, power and endurance-based sports at the University of Guelph. The data from supplement users were analyzed using a Chi-square analysis to investigate type of DS consumption, frequency of use and reasons for use. RESULTS: Overall, 58.3% of athletes reported having used at least one type of DS in the past six months. Gender and age had significant associations with prevalence of DS use, with male athletes and athletes over 20-year old being more likely to be DS users. The most frequently reported reasons for consuming DS were to maintain good health, increase energy, promote recovery, correct or prevent micronutrient deficiencies and supply convenient forms of energy and/or macronutrients. Although, most athletes were using reliable sources of information, health care professionals, 58.6% still mentioned wanting to become more knowledgeable about DS. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study may guide the development of educational materials needed to address knowledge gaps on DS among varsity athletes.