A valid and reliable nutrition knowledge questionnaire for track and field athletes
Background Establishing an understanding of an athlete’s nutrition knowledge can inform the coach/practitioner and support the development of the athlete. Thus the purpose of the study was to develop a psychometrically valid and reliable tool to assess general and sport nutrition knowledge. Methods An 85 question questionnaire was developed in consultation with a panel of experts. Ninety-eight participants from the UK completed the questionnaire, and again 3 weeks later. The participants were classified into two groups: those with nutrition (NUT, n = 53) training (sport nutritionists and dietitians who were either practicing or undertaking a postgraduate qualification in the field), and those without (NONUT, n = 48) training (professionals and postgraduate students with no exposure to any form of nutrition training). The questionnaire was then administered to a pilot cohort of UK based track and field athletes (n = 59) who were requested to time how long it took to complete the questionnaire. Results Psychometric statistical analysis of the results was completed, resulting in the removal of 23 questions for a total of 62 questions in the final questionnaire. The validated questionnaire was then administered to 58 track and field athletes. Internal consistency was assessed using Chronbach’s alpha (α > 0.7), Pearson’s correlation (p < 0.05) was used to assess reliability. Construct validity was evaluated using a t-test (p < 0.05). A total test retest correlation of 0.95 was achieved (sub-section range: 0.87–0.97). Internal consistency was accepted in each sub-section (α = 0.78–0.92) and the nutrition-trained group scored significantly higher on the overall questionnaire (80.4 vs 49.6%). The overall score for the athletic group was 61.0%. Conclusion The questionnaire satisfied all psychometric measures and provides a new valid and reliable tool to assess general and sport nutrition knowledge of track and field athlete.