Utilization trends of dietary supplements by male rugby players in the 2006 season of Kenya cup league
Dietary or nutritional supplements are substances which act either nutritionally to reverse or prevent deficiency (multivitamins) or pharmacological to alter some process. This takes place through affecting the energy metabolism, affecting the central nervous system, increasing lean body mass or muscle mass, stimulating protein synthesis and reducing body fat content. Nutritional supplements are sometimes referred to as ergogenic aids since they are believed to enhance performance. A considerable number of elite, non-elite and recreational athletes have been reported having used a wide range of special foods and supplements. In spite of this, it is not yet established whether rugby players in Kenya utilize dietary (nutritional) supplements or not. The purpose of the present study was to establish demographic characteristics, determine the extent of the knowledge, to determine the consumption levels and identify factors that influence the utilization trends of dietary supplements by the Kenya Cup Rugby players of the 2006 season. The study adopted the descriptive survey design. This enabled the researcher to cover an extensive area and obtain as much information as possible. The factors under investigation were age, level of education, occupation, experience and club affiliation as independent variables while knowledge and consumption of supplements as well as reasons for taking supplements as dependant variables. The target population was 210 players from seven teams that participated in the Kenya Cup League. Simple random sampling was used to select 140 (67%) respondents out of the target population of 210. A validated questionnaire based on a five-point Likert scale was used to collect data. Descriptive statistics were used to describe players' demographic characteristics and their knowledge levels. Chi-square (x2) at 0.05 level of significance was used to test the hypotheses. Results showed that majority (78%) of the players were below the age of 25 years. The largest (65%) proportion of the players had attained tertiary/university level of education. Half (50%) of the players had been with their respective teams for a period of 3 - 6 years. The largest (71.1%) proportion of the players had played for the national team a duration of less than 2 years. Generally, rugby players had relatively little (creatine monohydrate - 44.9%, antioxidants - 11.3%, multivitamins 44.2%, glutamine 14%, whey protein 37.3% and ZMA - 8.6%) knowledge about the dietary supplements. The results showed significant differences in the consumption of dietary supplements based on age, level of education, occupation, experience and club affiliation. All the six factors (taking, enjoying, not wanting to take, liking and not motivated to take dietary supplements) showed significant differences at 0.000. Similarly significant differences were also noted in the reasons for taking dietary supplements based on age, level of education, occupation, experience and club affiliation. Four reasons (excel in sport, not important and cannot afford a balanced diet) were found to influence rugby players at 0.000 except worthwhile and necessary at 0.001. Based on the findings, the following recommendations were suggested; the Kenya Rugby Football Union should organise clinics, courses, and seminars for rugby coaches and teachers regarding dietary supplementation, the technical benches of rugby clubs should incorporate nutritionists (dieticians) to guide players on the right dietary habits. Further research should be conducted on women rugby teams, other dietary supplements and variables apart from those investigated in the present study.
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