Rugby Club Nutritional Provision for Players Aged 7 to 16 Years
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: There have been long-standing concerns about the numbers of children who are overweight or obese, and the impact this has on their health and well-being, with poor diet being a known major contributing factor. This study aims to explore if rugby clubs, could be a potential setting for dietary health improvements, thorough role models (coaches) and the provision of healthy foods and beverages in those aged 7 to 16 years. Method: The research consisted of a cross sectional survey of the 24 rugby clubs, that operate rugby teams for players aged 7 to 16 years, in the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan area. Utilising a researcher administered questionnaire in-order to assess the nutritional provision and knowledge within the rugby club environment. Results: Currently there are 3828 registered rugby players aged between 7 and 16 years, representing the 24 rugby clubs participating in this study. Rugby club location was shown to be statistically not significant. The sale of snacks and beverages to players aged 7 to 16 years was found to be permitted in the majority (79%) of rugby clubs. Full sugar carbonated drinks, confectionery and savoury snacks were available in the majority (79%) of rugby clubs. Participants did not consider themselves or coaches to be influential in the nutritional choices made by those within their care. The majority (62%) reported parents, followed by advertising (38%) to be biggest influences of nutritional intake. Study participants were unaware of and did not promote current government healthy eating campaigns, within their respective rugby clubs. Conclusion: This research project highlights that an opportunity does exist for rugby clubs to be used as a setting for dietary health improvements. It would also suggest the Welsh Assembly Government is currently unaware of the potential the rugby club environment has for health improvement.
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