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Title: The development, implementation, and evaluation of an industry specific nutrition-education platform in professional horseracing
Author: Martin, D.
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2019
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Professional horseracing is a weight-making sport whereby the jockey athlete is required to 'make weight' to compete. Cultural practice promotes use of weight making approaches that have a negative effect on health. Despite the emergence of an evidence-based jockey diet that facilitates health and performance, dangerous weight-making behaviours are widely maintained. Jockey nutrition education has been cited as lacking and in need of development. Through a mixed-methods paradigm, and use of behaviour change theory, specifically the Capability Opportunity Motivation - Behaviour (COM-B) model and Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) this thesis aimed to develop, implement, and evaluate the impact of an industry-specific nutrition education platform to help reduce the reliance on hazardous weight management. Study 1 interviewed jockeys athletes (n=10) and their support network of trainers (n=3), agents (n=2), coaches (n=4), and racecourse clerks (n=7) to establish the perceptions of the industry on jockey weight-making and nutrition and why archaic methods were still used. Via six-stage thematic analysis findings indicated several external factors influenced dietary and weight-making practices, with racehorse trainer pressure and poor food provision at racecourses key themes. A systemic lack of nutrition education was the key finding with recommendations to improve the nutrition knowledge and skills of jockeys. Study 2 employed 'co-creation' as a method of collaboratively designing an education platform for the horseracing industry. Co-creation workshops involving jockeys (n=6), and athlete support personnel (n=12) comprising medics, nutritionists, physiologists, retired jockeys, jockey coaches, and board secretaries were followed by group interviews that spawned and captured ideas. Workshops and group interviews were conducted in three separate groups of six participants (two ASP groups, one jockey group). Themes generated from group interviews were subsequently mapped across to the COM-B and BCW to provide a theoretical underpinning. From this, an industry-specific education platform was developed. Study 3 sought to pilot the developed education platform and test its effectiveness and industry suitability. Two groups of seven licensing jockeys were recruited. The control group received the existing education provision whilst the intervention group received the new education. Both groups completed nutrition knowledge questionnaires, food recall diaries and EAT-26 inventories pre and 10-weeks post licensing course to measure changes in nutrition knowledge and eating behaviours. The intervention group improved nutrition knowledge scores by 11.7%±5.5 versus 3.6%±4.5 for the control group. EAT-26 scores and fat intake did not differ significantly across both groups. Intake for total protein and carbohydrate improved moderately in control participants with significant improvements measured in intervention group aligning itself more towards recommended intake for this group. Independent t-tests indicate potential statistical significance in intervention group improvements for nutrition knowledge, and carbohydrate, and protein intake however variance in upper and lower confidence intervals identify need for greater participant numbers in an industry-led trial to draw stronger conclusions. The present thesis provides a proof of concept that the piloted co-developed industry-specific nutrition education platform has the potential to improve the nutrition knowledge and eating behaviours of jockey athletes. Future work should focus on industry implementation of the co-developed platform and longitudinal data collection to assess both short and long term efficacy on a large participant group. Barriers other than jockey education still remain and contribute to archaic weight-making practices such as the influence and control of trainers. Future work should focus on these groups to further compliment the research led on jockeys.
Supervisor: Murphy, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: TX341 Nutrition. Foods and food supply ; RC1200 Sports Medicine