Mal J Nutr 23(3): 409-423, 2017

Knowledge and Attitude Related to Nutritional Supplements and Risk of Doping among National Elite Athletes in Malaysia
Balaravi B 1, Chin MQ1, Karppaya H2, Chai WJ2, Samantha Quah LW1 & Ramadas A1

1 Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, 47500 Bandar Sunway, Malaysia
2 National Sports Institute, National Sports Complex, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Introduction: Often considered a legitimate strategy to enhance health and performance, the consumption of nutritional supplements (NS) has become a common practice which frequently results in unintentional doping among athletes. Despite a probable association between NS and doping, there are limited studies on this topic in developing countries such as Malaysia. Thus, this study aimed to identify the prevalence of NS usage among national elite athletes and assess their knowledge and attitude regarding its use and doping. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted at the Malaysian National Sports Institute among national elite athletes (n=50) recruited via convenience sampling. The athletes completed a self-administered questionnaire documenting their demographic characteristics, training information, NS consumption, knowledge and attitude related to supplement-doping. The total knowledge and attitude scores were compared according to demography, training information, and NS consumption. Results: The prevalence of NS use among the athletes was 72%. NS usage was significantly associated with training duration (p=0.029), source of nutrition information (p=0.047) and self-exploration on supplements (p=0.045). Supplement-doping knowledge was significantly higher among athletes with tertiary level education (p=0.027), NS users (p=0.044), those obtaining information from nutritionists (p=0.048) and those who had attended nutrition workshops (p<0.001). The attitude score was significantly higher among males (p=0.021), professional athletes (p=0.041), athletes with lower training hours (p=0.010), those obtaining information from nutritionists (p=0.035) and those who had attended nutrition workshops (p=0.005). Conclusion: A demographic- and training-specific education on NS should be provided by qualified nutritionists to reduce the risk of doping amongst athletes.

Keywords: Athletes, attitude, doping, knowledge, nutritional supplements

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