Development and Implementation of a Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire for Ultra-Endurance Athletes

Claire Blennerhassett, Lars McNaughton, Lorcan Cronin, Andy Sparks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
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The nutritional intake of ultra-endurance athletes is often poorly matched with the requirements of the sport. Nutrition knowledge is a mediating factor to food choice that could correct such imbalances. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop and validate a questionnaire to assess the nutrition knowledge of ultra-endurance athletes. Nutritional knowledge was assessed using a modified sports nutrition questionnaire (ULTRA-Q). Four independent assessors with specialist sports nutrition knowledge confirmed the content validity of the ULTRA-Q. Registered Sports Nutritionists, Registered Dietitians, and those without nutrition training completed the ULTRA-Q on two separate occasions. After the first completion, a significant difference in nutrition scores between groups (p = <0.001) provided evidence of construct validity. After the second completion, intra-class correlation coefficients comparing nutrition scores between time points (0.75–0.95) provided evidence of test-retest reliability. Subsequently, experienced ultra-endurance athletes (male n = 74, female n = 27) completed the ULTRA-Q. Athletes also documented their sources of nutrition knowledge for ultra-endurance events. The total nutrition knowledge score for ultra-endurance athletes was 68.3 ± 9.5% and there were no significant differences in knowledge scores between males and females (67.4 ± 9.6% and 70.7 ± 9.3%) or runners and triathletes (69.1 ± 9.7% and 65.1 ± 9.4%). In general, it appeared that ultra-endurance athletes favoured other athletes (73%) over nutrition experts (8%) as a source of nutritional information. The findings of this study indicate that ultra-endurance athletes had a reasonable level of nutrition knowledge, but inter-athlete variability suggests a need for targeted nutrition education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Issue number1
Early online date17 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Oct 2018


  • Diet
  • Ironman
  • Sports nutrition
  • Ultramarathon


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