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Surprising Advantages of Low Self-Efficacy Revealed in a Sports Nutrition Education

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To determine the influence of educational sports nutrition programs on adolescent athlete’s nutritional habits and on the general and academic self-efficacy of nutrition students who facilitated the program.


An intervention framework and a convergent mixed-methods approach were used for this study. A questionnaire to examine knowledge of sports nutrition and an eating diary were used for tracking results at 3 points in time; beginning, end of the program and 3 months follow up. Nutrition students completed questionnaires examining their general and academic self-efficacy at 4 points during the study. Participants included 49 athletes aged 13-15 (26 boys and 23 girls) and 30 nutrition students.


Significant improvements were found in knowledge and nutrition behavior of athletes and in the general and academic self-efficacy of the nutrition students.


Participation in the intervention program led to improvements of the adolescent athletes’ nutritional knowledge and behavior. Implementation of the program in the framework of an academic nutrition studies course improved the general and academic self-efficacy of the nutrition students. Use of the RRA approach transformed the students from passive learners to active teachers.
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Keywords: academic self-efficacy; nutrition behavior; change agents; role reversal approach (RRA); self-efficacy; sports nutrition education

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2018

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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