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Abbey, Wright and Kirkpatrick (2017) conducted a study that displayed the dietary intake of college football athletes to support their stance: “In all sports, specifically football, the work put in can be really hard on one’s body; and because of this, long-lasting health issues can arise” (p. 1). This is a recurring problem that has received awareness, but has not fully been acted on. This dangerous process can start at a young age, and continue for years without notice.
The participants in this study were National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III (DIII) football players. Altogether, there were 88 players and an additional group of nine linemen. During the recruitment process, “returners were asked during an informative meeting in the spring of 2014, while new players were asked via e-mail before training camp that following summer” (Abbey, Wright & Kirkpatrick, 2017, p. 2).
The authors wanted athletes who were actively involved in their sport to participate in the study, and football players serve as a good example of that. As for narrowing it down to a certain division, “DIII programs don’t have all the necessary nutrition resources to offer to their athletes,” which made them a good option (Abbey, Wright & Kirkpatrick, 2017, p. 2). Since a part of the study was focused on players with a higher risk of obtaining cardio metabolic diseases, linemen were singled out in a separate group.
According to Abbey et al. (2017), “each participant was given three surveys: food frequency, nutrition knowledge and health history. The food frequency survey was made specifically for the study, while the other two were for gathering additional information” (p. 2). For the linemen who agreed to turn in extra records, “they met with a registered dietitian nutritionist who helped them complete a three-day record that examined their typical diet habits” (Abbey, Wright & Kirkpatrick, 2017, p. 2).
As stated by Abbey et al. (2017), “the average body mass index (BMI) from all the participants resulted within the overweight category, while the BMI for the linemen alone concluded within the obese class” (p. 3). For the linemen, they lacked in carbs and fiber, while they possessed high amounts of total fat, sodium and potassium. However, they did meet the standard for an athlete in protein ingestion.
The results supported the authors’ hypothesis. The football players showed unhealthy dieting habits that could well lead to health issues in their future. Most of the players ate at fast food restaurants regularly and relied on protein powder. They lacked the necessary nutrients.
One of the limitations discussed by the authors was that “the athletes attended the same college. The habits from the participants may not be the same with the same division players countrywide” (Abbey, Wright ; Kirkpatrick, 2017, p. 5). Two strengths that were talked about were the athletes met the requirement for protein consumption and over half revealed eating seafood throughout the week.
Abbey et al. (2017) concluded that “the participants dietary habits were on track of continuing their increase of perennial disease risk in the future” (p. 8). They also discovered that the athletic programs lacked in sports nourishment.
The findings in this study can be applied for future athletic studies down the road. It can serve as a stepping stool to focusing on other positions in football, and expand to other sports. Abbey et al. (2017) suggested that “the athletic programs should provide or improve upon their nutrition education, whether that be through required classes or hire a registered dietitian nutritionist” (p. 8).

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