The Relationship of Hedonic Hunger, Macronutrient Balance, Nutrition Knowledge, and Body Image and Weight Control with Dietary Intake in Student Athletes and Exercisers

Nutrients. 2024 Mar 8;16(6):772. doi: 10.3390/nu16060772.


Dietary intake is known to impact athletic performance. The factors that influence dietary intake have been investigated widely, but their collective effect has not been examined. The primary aim of this cross-sectional study was to assess the relationship between dietary intake and nutrition knowledge, body image, weight control, macronutrient balance, and hedonic hunger. Forty-two student athletes or active individuals were recruited through contact with sporting organisations and course coordinators, advertising via twitter, and flyers posted within university buildings. Nutrition knowledge, body image, weight control, macronutrient balance, and hedonic hunger were measured using the Abridged Nutrition for Sport Knowledge Questionnaire, Body Image Disturbance Questionnaire and Contour Drawing Rating Scale, a Weight Fluctuation Measure, Australian Eating Score, and Power of Food Scale, respectively. Hierarchical regression analysis, correlation testing, and mean difference testing were applied. Carbohydrate intake, body image disturbance scores, weight fluctuation, and hedonic hunger for food tasted had a significant relationship (R2 = 64.6%, Adj R2 = 0.608%, p < 0.001) with dietary energy intake. Student athletes' dietary intakes are influenced by multiple potentially modifiable factors. Future studies should use larger sample sizes, with interventions focusing on individual modifiable factors to determine how dietary intake can be most significantly impacted.

Keywords: diet intake; dietetics; physical activity; sport nutrition; training.

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Australia
  • Body Image
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Hunger*
  • Nutrients
  • Students

Grants and funding

This work was completed as a portion of a Master of Science thesis supported by the Research Training Program.