Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences
orthorexia, disordered eating, nutritional knowledge, undergraduate athletes, club sports
Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine nutritional knowledge and disordered eating symptoms in the undergraduate club sport athlete population.
Design: An online survey including a demographics section, two surveys aimed at assessing eating disorder symptoms, and two questionnaires that tested nutritional knowledge, was administered to club sport athletes.
Main Outcome Measurements: Eating disorder symptoms were assessed using the ORTO-15, a survey designed to detect orthorexia, and the EAT-26, a self-report measure of disordered eating behaviors. The first two sections of the General Nutritional Knowledge Questionnaire were used to test participants’ understanding of proper nutrition. Section one evaluated their understanding of expert dietary advice and section two tested their knowledge about the nutrient composition of major food groups.
Results: Thirty-six athletes responded to the survey, though only 29 went on to complete all four sections. Of the 36 subjects that completed the EAT-26, 5 (14.3%) met the 20-point cut-off typically used to warrant referral to mental health services. Over 65% of the sample that completed the ORTO-15 scored below the 40-point threshold used in other literature to indicate orthorexia; when using a 35-point threshold, 28.1% reported clinically significant scores. The mean scores on the GNKQ were relatively high.
Conclusions: The proportion of athletes that reported significant scores on both the ORTO-15 and EAT-26 is concerning because these athletes are not as well-monitored and lack the extensive mental health resources provided to varsity athletes. This should be studied further, as the high mean score on the GNKQ indicates that other variables may play a greater role in driving these trends.
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Lubic, Sarah M., "Disordered eating prevalence and nutritional knowledge assessment in undergraduate club sport athletes" (2019). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 285.