Monash University

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Nutritional Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Singapore Coaches: A Mixed-Method Study

posted on 2017-09-07, 02:01 authored by Chan Yong Jiet Grace
Within a changing sporting landscape in Singapore, coaches have been increasingly employed at both competitive and recreational levels to address a performative agenda in which sporting excellence is highly valued. Over the past several decades, nutritional intervention has been viewed as an integral component of sports performance. Amidst this increasingly performative sporting context, sporting coaches across a range of ability groupings have been challenged with the task of providing essential nutritional advice to athletes to support athlete performance and health. Due in part to the increased pace of sports nutrition advancement and the extensive amount of nutrition information of variable quality available in the media, there remains a constant challenge for coaches to provide quality dietary advice. Little is known about the extent to which this advice is consistent with contemporary nutritional recommendations for optimal sports performance and athlete health. This study draws on a pragmatic research paradigm to understand how Singaporean coaches interpret and enact nutritional support for athletes. Using a sequential explanatory mixed methods research design, the study explores Singaporean coaches’ understandings of nutritional content knowledge, the extent to which they value the provision of nutrition support, and their level of congruence with accepted practices outlined by internationally recognized nutritional bodies. The sampling frame for the quantitative phase consisted of 449 coaches represented from 38 different sports, with a subsample of eight coaches participating in follow-up qualitative interviews. The Coaches Knowledge Attitude and Practice questionnaire was developed to satisfy acceptable psychometric criteria of validity and reliability, and a semi-structured interview was used in conjunction to convene quantitative and qualitative data. Descriptive statistics, hierarchical multiple regression and one-way between-group analysis of variance with posthoc tests and thematic analyses were used to analyse the quantitative and qualitative data in the research. Results from the quantitative research revealed a varied nutritional content knowledge, a range of values towards providing nutritional support and varied practices that ranged from aligning with to contrasting markedly with accepted practice. A positive relationship exists between the numbers of hours spent learning about nutrition and the coaches’ understanding of nutritional content knowledge (p<.001), the extent to which coaches’ value the provision of sound nutrition support (p<.001) and their level of congruence with accepted practices (p<.001). Findings demonstrated a positive relationship between Singaporean coaches’ understandings of nutritional content knowledge, the extent that coaches’ value the provision of sound nutrition support, and their level of congruence with accepted practices investigated using Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (p<.001). Results from the qualitative research showed emergent themes that conceptualized knowledge, attitude and practice constructs that align with the Precede framework underpinning the broad spheres of predisposing, enabling and reinforcing constructs. Evidence presented in this research signal potential shortcomings and identified significant gaps in the broad spheres of nutritional knowledge, attitude and practices concerning the provision of nutritional support to athletes. The findings hold implications for coach registration, education and on-going professional development.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Justen O' Conner

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Health and Physical Education / Sport and Outdoor Recreation


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Education