Craving Good Nutrition

September 21, 2018

If you assume your high school athletes primarily want to eat fries and guzzle soda and will roll their eyes at advice on healthy eating, you may be missing a prime opportunity to influence their health for the rest of their lives. In fact, according to a recent study by a team of researchers at Oregon State University, teenagers appear to be much more open to changing lifestyle behaviors than most people assume, and clinicians working with sports teams have a perfect forum to share information.

As reported in an article on, the Oregon State study followed 400 high school soccer players for two years, tracking their intake of added sugar and unhealthy saturated fat. Half the teens were given sports nutrition information, life-skills workshops, newsletters, and a virtual learning platform. The other half were not offered any nutrition information.

Over the 24-month period, the athletes receiving nutrition education cut their sugar intake by 12 grams per day and their saturated fat intake by 3 grams. Meanwhile, teens in the control group actually increased their sugar intake by 10 grams a day.

In an interview about the study, Sally Squires, MS, nutrition writer for “The Lean Plate Club,” said teens’ motivation for listening to nutrition advice often comes from not wanting to end up like the adults around them.

“[Kids in this age group] care a lot about their appearance, they also were seeing a lot of adults in their lives who already have weight-related diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” Squires said. “Frankly, many of them expressed concern that this was their future. They could see how some of the adults in their lives were struggling, and they really wanted to make changes.”

The Oregon State findings are already making an impact. Thurgood Marshall Academy in Washington, D.C., and two other schools have introduced nutrition education programs based on the research, with similar results—students involved in the education programs increased their water consumption, dropped their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks, and began eating more fruits and vegetables.

“What was really interesting to us was that they were actually going home and sharing this information with their parents, trying to get them to either be more active or eat more healthily,” Squires said. “It was encouraging to us that … teens could actually be agents of change in their own families.”

So, rather than seeing high school athletes as attached to their junk food and resistant to adult guidance, Squires recommends realizing that they are actually seeking information and eager for suggestions.

“We’re starting to see that teens are actually craving this information, which is not what we would necessarily expect,” she said.

SEARCH for Products
SEARCH for Vendors

A Rebounder With Versatility

Medicine ball exercises are a staple of many workout routines. Whether the goal is performance enhancement by strengthening the core or helping an athlete rehab from an injury, medicine balls are versatile piece of equipment that can get the job done. But most strength coaches and athletic trainers don’t have enough time available to catch … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Author and Strength Coach Mike Mejia Praises VersaClimber

“Over the course of the past twenty years I’ve trained hundreds of clients that run the gamut from average Joe’s to professional athletes and in all that time, I’ve never come across a cardio piece that comes anywhere near the Versa Climber!” says Mike Mejia M.S., CSCS, author of The Men’s Heath Better Body Blueprint, … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Indoor Pool Surface Solution

Mateflex has indoor pool surfacing that is safer and more enjoyable to walk on than concrete. Mateflex offers perforated tiles to allow water to drain through that can cover up old, unsightly concrete or just spruce up a new area with a colorful design. The interlocking tiles dry quickly while keeping your feet out of … CLICK TO READ MORE...

The Evolution of the Lifting Platform

The days of the above ground weightlifting platform may be a thing of the past. More and more high schools, colleges, and professional strength and conditioning facilities who are either building a new facility or renovating an existing facility are going away from the traditional above ground lifting platform and choosing the inlaid platform, which … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Teaching Principles: Neck Rotation

Coach Bill ‘Jake’ Jacobs goes back to the basic teaching principles with Neck Rotation. View his demonstration.  CLICK TO READ MORE...