TitlePromoting Healthy Diet, Physical Activity and Life-Skills in High School Soccer Players: Results From the WAVE~Ripples for Change Childhood Obesity Prevention 2-Year Intervention
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMeng, Y, Wong, SSun, Manore, MM, Schuna, Jr, JM, Branscum, AJ, Johnson, T, Patten-Lopez, M
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
PaginationS69 - S70
Date Published01/2018

Background (Background, Rationale, Prior Research, and/or Theory): Many high school (HS) athletes still lack sport nutrition knowledge and life-skills to overcome the challenging food environment around sports, thus, putting them at risk of developing obesity when they leave sports. The WAVE~Ripples for Change (WAVE) project is a 2-year obesity prevention study, aimed to improve HS soccer players' sports nutrition knowledge, promote healthy eating, physical activity (PA) and life skill building.

Objective: Evaluate the impact of the WAVE project on HS soccer players' fruits and vegetable (FV), saturated fat, and added sugar intake; and their PA in- vs. out-of-soccer season.

Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention: Based on geographic location (non-randomized), participants were assigned to the intervention group (IG) or comparison groups (CG) by school teams. IG received sports nutrition lessons, life-skill workshops, newsletters, and virtual experiential learning, while CG received none.

Outcome Measures and Analysis: Participants (n = 388) completed pre-intervention demographic questionnaire, self-reported Block Food Frequency Questionnaire, and measured PA using Fitbit-Zip; 52% completed post-intervention assessments. ANOVA was used to examine pre-/post intervention changes, and ANCOVA models to examine the between-group changes in diet and PA.

Results: The IG significantly decreased in added sugar (12 g/d) and saturated fat (3 g/d) intakes over the 2 years; the decrease of added sugar intake was significantly higher (10g/d) than the CG. No change in pre/post FV intake or differences between-groups. During soccer season, mean steps per day for all participants was 9,937 (M = 10,734; F = 9,353), matching the step threshold consistent with compliance to the 2008 PA Guidelines for Americans. As expected, PA was 1,800 steps per day lower out-of-soccer season vs. in-season.

Conclusions and Implications: Over a 2-year period, the WAVE project successfully decreased added sugar and saturated fat intakes, and maintained FV intake in HS soccer players. Team sports play a critical role in keeping HS youth active.

Short TitleJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior