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DOI

10.25035/jsmahs.05.02.02

Abstract

Purpose: Health behaviors, such as diet, tobacco, and physical activity, may serve to prevent disease and promote wellness throughout the population including athletic trainers (AT). Good health behaviors act as disease prevention measures to decrease prevalence of pathologies. Hours of sleep, substance use, nutritional intake, and physical activity are behaviors that may impact the health of athletic trainers (AT). The objective of the study was to describe health behaviors of ATs in comparison to the general population and recommended behaviors. Methods: We used a cross-sectional, web-based survey of clinically practicing ATs recruited from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association member database. A total of 1,229 ATs completed the web-based survey. The survey contained the Healthy Eating Vital Sign (HEVS) Questionnaire with physical activity items and Center for Disease Control Annual Consensus Survey. We calculated statistics of central tendency (means, frequency, and mode) to describe the characteristics of the athletic training population represented by our sample. The main outcome measures were hours of sleep, frequency of alcohol consumption and number of drinks consumed while drinking, weekly consumption of fast food, daily consumption of vegetables, daily servings of caffeine, smoking behavior in the last month, and exercise in the last day and week. Results: We found that the majority of ATs sleep 5-8 hours per night. From the sample, 66.2% of ATs reported eating fast food at least one time per week, while 95.7% ate vegetables at least one time per day. Only 1.9% of ATs reported smoking a cigarette in the last 30 days as compared to the national average of 15.5%. Finally, 50% of ATs performed physical activity on three or more occurrences per week. ATs most frequently report drinking alcohol weekly with an average of three alcohol beverages per sitting. Conclusion(s): Overall, the health of ATs is similar to the general population except ATs consume fast food more frequently and fewer athletic trainers smoke compared to the general population. Despite ATs base knowledge, many ATs do not engage in at the recommended health behaviors and may place themselves at increased risk of poorer health and chronic disease.

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