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Development and Evaluation of an Educational Intervention Program for Pre-professional Adolescent Ballet Dancers: Nutrition for Optimal Performance

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Abstract:

The purpose of this investigation was to develop, implement, and evaluate a theoretically based nutritional education intervention through a DVD lecture series (three 30-minute classes) in summer intensive programs for pre-professional, adolescent ballet dancers. Objectives of this intervention program were to increase knowledge of basic sports nutrition principles and the Female Athlete Triad and promote self-efficacy for adopting healthier dietary habits. Dancers ranging from 13 to 18 years old who were attending summer intensive programs affiliated with professional ballet companies were recruited. Group One (n = 231) participated in the nutrition education program, while Group Two the control participants (n = 90) did not. Assessments of the participants' dietary status consisted of a demographic questionnaire, a Sports Nutrition Knowledge and Behavior Questionnaire, and a Food Frequency Questionnaire. The intervention group was assessed at baseline, immediately post-program, and at six weeks post-program. The control group was assessed at baseline and at six weeks post-baseline. The intervention program was effective at increasing nutrition knowledge, perceived susceptibility to the Female Athlete Triad, and self-efficacy constructs. Improvements in dietary intake were also observed among intervention group participants. To improve overall health and performance nutrition education should be incorporated into the training regimens of adolescent dancers. This potentially replicable DVD-based program may be an effective, low-cost mechanism for doing that.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Dance, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 2: Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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