Athlete Diet Index Study

ADIStudypicture

Abstract

Background: Dietary assessment is routinely undertaken to evaluate how well athletes meet specific health and/or sports nutrition targets. However, no tools are available to rapidly assess diet quality in athletes.  

Objective: To examine the relative validity and reproducibility of the newly developed Athlete Diet Index (ADI) aimed at assessing athlete diet quality.

Methods: The ADI was based on healthy eating guidelines developed for the New Zealand population. Sixty-five athletes (63% female, 21±4y, 40% team sports) competing at a regional level or higher completed the ADI (ADI#1) and an estimated four-day food record (4DFR) (to assess relative validity). Validity was assessed using Pearson correlation coefficients, Bland-Altman plots, linear regression analysis and chi-square analysis. Reproducibility was determined by re-administration of the ADI four weeks after ADI#1 and assessed using intra-class correlations and chi-square analysis.  

Results: Differences between the ADI#1 and 4DFR were <20% for all food/fluid groups except dried fruit/fruit juice, grain foods, meat and/or meat alternatives (≤18y), milk-based beverages, sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) and alcohol.  The ADI#1 underestimated intake compared with the 4DFR with the exception of milk-based beverages and alcohol (males).  Times treat foods and takeaways were eaten were 17 and 77% respectively (lower from ADI#1). Average correlation coefficients were: food groups (0.53), variety (0.53), discretionary foods (0.45), and fluids (0.53). Frequency of choosing wholegrain versus refined grain options was significantly higher from the ADI#1 compared with the 4DFR (P<0.001).  For reproducibility, differences were <20% for all food/fluid groups except dried fruit/fruit juice, non-starchy vegetables, meat and/or meat alternatives (≤18y), SSB and alcohol (females only) (all higher from ADI#1 except SSB and alcohol (females)).  Average intra-class correlation coefficients were: food groups (0.65), variety (0.70), discretionary foods (0.65) and fluids (0.68). There were no significant differences between ADI#1 and ADI#2 for choice of wholegrain options or reduced fat milk options (P>0.05).  

Conclusions: The ADI demonstrated moderate to strong validity and good reproducibility for most dietary components, and is a useful tool for rapidly assessing diet quality in athletes.

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