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The Athlete Diet Index (ADI) Study:The Development and Validation of a Tool to Assess Dietary Intake in Athletes

INFORMATION SHEET  ADI-Information sheet (287 KB)

We would like to invite you to take part in the Athlete Diet Index study, which aims to develop and validate a tool to assess dietary quality in high performing athletes.  This study is being conducted as part of an MSc (Human Nutrition and Dietetics) thesis through Massey University. This study is being conducted by Rachel Blair (MSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics student), Dr Kathryn Beck, Dr Pamela von Hurst, Dr Cath Conlon, Owen Mugridge and Michele Eickstaedt (School of Food and Nutrition, Massey University), and Dr Helen O’Connor (Discipline of Exercise and Sports Science, University of Sydney, Australia).  Please read this Information Sheet carefully before deciding whether or not to participate.

Why is this research important?

An athlete’s dietary intake can impact his/hers performance, therefore it is important to be able to assess dietary intake accurately.  This study aims to investigate how well a newly developed dietary assessment tool (the Athlete Diet Index) measures the dietary intake of high performing athletes compared with more traditional dietary assessment methods such as food records.

The Athlete Diet Index (ADI) has several potential applications.  These include:

•    Identifying athletes that would benefit from additional dietary advice.
•    As an interactive dietary education tool for athletes and coaches.
•    As a tool to use in future research studies.

Participant Identification and Recruitment

We are looking to recruit 100 athletes from high performance programmes, national sporting institutes or organisations and universities/secondary schools with sport academies. Athletes must compete at regional representative level (eg. represent Auckland or equivalent) or above for their main sport. We are looking for both males and females 16 years and above.  Participants will be reimbursed with $40 vouchers on completion of the study, either given in person or sent by post.

Project Procedures

Athletes will be required to complete the following:

Appointment 1: Visit Massey University or sporting organisation

We will ask you to attend Massey University or an alternative sporting organisation.  This appointment will take approximately 1 hour.  We will ask you to do the following:

1.    Complete a training, supplement use and dietary questionnaire (takes 5 minutes to complete).
2.    Complete the Athlete Diet Index which focuses on overall intake of food groups and food variety, as well as questions about demographics (eg. age, ethnicity), training information, medical conditions, special diets and supplement use (10 minutes to complete).  
3.    Complete a food frequency questionnaire which asks about usual dietary intake of foods in the past month (30 minutes to complete).
4.    Body composition measurements including height and weight measured using an electronic scale and stadiometer (5 minutes to complete).

In between appointments 1 and 2:

We will also ask you to complete a 4 day food and training diary during this time, where we will ask you to record all training and everything you eat and drink.  In between appointments 1 and 2 we will ask that you don’t make any major changes to your dietary intake.   

Appointment 2 (approximately 4 weeks following appointment 1): Visit Massey University or sporting organization or complete in the comfort of your own home via a website link.

This will take approximately 40 minutes and will include the same questionnaires as completed at appointment 1 (with some small changes to the training, supplement use and dietary questionnaire).  

What are the benefits and risks of taking part in this study?

You will receive general feedback on your dietary intake at the end of the study, as well as individual copies of the Ministry of Health Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Adolescents/Adults, and links to websites providing evidence based sports nutrition information.  Participating in the study will contribute to the development of tools to assess dietary intake in athletes effectively. Social or cultural discomfort may be caused from having body composition measures taken.  The body composition assessment will require you to wear minimal clothing, e.g. shorts and a t-shirt; if for cultural or religious reasons you need to remain covered we will respect this.  The height measurement involves standing upright, and the researcher bringing a head plate gently onto the top of your head and compressing the hair if necessary.  All participants will be treated with respect and measurements will be conducted in privacy.  We will explain all measurements and ask for your permission prior to undertaking these measurements.  You may also be accompanied by a support person.

Data Management

How will the data be used?
The data will be used only for research purposes only.  Data collected will be confidential and no individual will be able to be identified.  Participation or non-participation will not affect participation or standing in any sporting programme.

How will the data be stored?

Participants will be identified only by a unique study identification code and all data forms will use this code.  The data forms will be stored in a locked filing cabinet in the Human Nutrition Research Unit, Albany Campus, Massey University. The electronic data will be stored on computers, which are protected by passwords, in locked offices of the Human Nutrition Research Unit.  Consent forms will be stored separately to data forms in a locked office in the Human Nutrition Research Unit, Albany Campus, Massey University.  

How will the data be disposed of?

At the end of this study the list of participants and their study identification codes will be disposed of.  Any raw data on which the results of the project depend will be retained in secure storage for 10 years after which time it will be destroyed.  

How will I access a summary of the project findings?

A summary of the project findings will be available to all study participants and you will be sent this information via email.  

Participant’s Rights

You are under no obligation to accept this invitation.   If you decide to participate, you have the right to:
•    Decline to answer any particular question
•    Withdraw from the study at any time up until 3 months after you have completed the study.
•    Ask any questions about the study at any time during participation
•    Provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless you give permission to the researcher
•    Be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded

Researcher(s)/Project contacts:

Below are contact details for researchers involved in this study. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the researchers if you have any further questions.

Dr Kathryn Beck
NZ Registered Dietitian and Senior Lecturer
School of Food and Nutrition
Massey University, Albany
Phone: (09) 213 6662

Rachel Blair
MSc student – Human Nutrition and Dietetics
School of Food and Nutrition
Massey University, Albany
Email –
Phone: 0274243323

Michele Eickstaedt
Research Assistant
School of Food and Nutrition
Massey University, Albany
Phone: (09) 414 0800 ext 43859

Human Ethics Approval Statement
This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Northern, Application 15/37. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please contact Dr Andrew Chrystall, Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Northern, telephone 09 414 0800 x43317 email

Thank you for considering participating in this study!

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