Nutritional Assessment and Nutritional Knowledge of Lifesavers, Ironmen and Lifeguards
MetadataShow full item record
Despite surf lifesavers being national icons of good health and good nutrition, surprisingly little factual information is known about the nutritional status of this unique aquatic fellowship. The purpose of this study was to investigate the nutritional intake and nutritional knowledge of three distinct groups of Australian surf lifesavers. Weighed food diaries are commonly used to assess the nutritional intake of athletes but this method has the disadvantage of a heavy respondent burden. Individuals being investigated must be literate and highly motivated to keep accurate records of food and drinks consumed. Food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) offer an alternative assessment method to weighed food records as they are relatively quick and easy to complete and do not require a high level of literacy. A secondary purpose of this study was to compare seven-day weighed food diaries with a FFQ that had already been validated for use with an older mixed gender population. The nutrient intakes of 60 members of Surf Lifesaving Australia were measured. Nineteen, who were professional lifeguards completed a FFQ. Thirty lifesavers and 11 surf ironmen each completed the FFQ, a seven-day weighed food diary and a nutritional knowledge questionnaire consisting of 15 multiple choice questions. There were significant differences between the three groups in age and activity with ironmen being significantly younger (mean age 22.9yrs) and significantly more physically active (mean 134mins/day) than either lifesavers (mean age, 31.3yrs, mean activity 46min/day) or lifeguards (mean age 35.8yrs, mean activity 65min/day). There were no significant differences in these parameters between lifesavers and lifeguards. The seven-day food diary revealed significant differences in nutrient intake between lifesavers and ironmen. Lifesavers consumed 1 1,807kJ, 125g protein (1.6g/kg) and 327g carbohydrate (4.Og/kg) while ironmen consumed 14,69/kJ, 1519 protein (1.9g/kg) and 4629 carbohydrate (5.6g/kg). Lifesavers and ironmen exceeded the RDIs for all vitamins and minerals measured. The seven day food diary demonstrated significant differences between the lifesavers and ironmen in energy, protein, fat, carbohydrate, alcohol, thiamin, niacin, calcium and iron. When the nutrient analysis data set for the FFQ was checked this method of dietary assessment was found to be unreliable as greater than 20 per cent of subjects were identified as being under-reporters. Lifesavers and ironmen both had good scores on the nutritional knowledge questionnaire and were able to identify groups of foods as being rich sources of fat, fibre, protein and iron. Ironmen were better able to answer questions specifically related to sport nutrition. All three groups meet the current recommendations for daily physical activity. Lifesavers and ironmen meet the current recommendations for, protein, fibre, vitamin and mineral intake and consume alcohol at levels within the current health guidelines. Ironmen have the highest carbohydrate intake which meets the current general health recommendations but consume less than the current special recommendations of sport nutritionists while lifesavers consume only 44% of energy as carbohydrate. These results suggest that while the both lifesavers and ironmen consume a relatively healthy diet only the surf ironmen could possibly be considered nutritional icons.
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
School of Health Sciences
Item Access Status