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Nutritional knowledge, eating attitudes and behaviours of female gymnasts (ref: RDF20/SER/KEANE)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Nutritional knowledge, eating attitudes (beliefs, thoughts and feelings around food) and eating behaviours (discussions, actions towards and relationships with food) are broad constructs that can influence people's food choices and preferences, as well as their wider health and wellbeing (Neumark-Sztainer, Story, & Casey, 1999; Sun, 2008). Dietary assessments of high-level gymnasts indicate that many of these athletes consume less than the recommended amount of energy, and this is largely attributed to their lack of nutritional knowledge. However, a lot of this research is outdated and often focuses on older athletes (Loosli et al., 1986; Silva & Paiva, 2014). It is particularly important that young gymnasts consume sufficient energy and nutrients to meet the demands of growth, training, competition, and tissue maintenance. Consequently, a continuous focus on optimal energy and nutrient intake for performance and health, especially emphasizing the prevention of the female athlete triad, is important for all gymnasts and professionals working with young gymnasts (Siatras & Mameletzi, 2014).

Therefore, the proposed project will aim to investigate the nutritional knowledge, attitudes, and food patterns of National female gymnasts using this information to identify those ‘at risk’ for the Triad and ‘not at risk’. Furthermore, this project will determine the energy and macronutrient intake and energy expenditure of national level female gymnasts during a period of full time training and evaluate the efficacy of a nutrition education intervention for female athletes to improve nutrition knowledge and build self-efficacy

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU students with a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


1. Keane, K.M., Salicki, R., Goodall, S., Thomas, K., Howatson, G. (2015). Muscle Damage Response in Female Collegiate Athletes After Repeated Sprint Activity. Journal of Strength and Conditioning, (10):2802-7.

2. Brown, M.A., Howatson, G., Keane, K.M., Stevenson, E.J (2015). Exercise-induced muscle damage following dance and sprint specific exercise in females. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 56 (11), 1376-1383.

3. Brown, M.A., Howatson, G., Keane, K.M., Stevenson, E.J (2016). Adaptation to damaging dance and repeated sprint activity in females. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30 (9), 2574-2581.

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