NOTE: This is the latest in a series of Q&A stories featuring Brock University faculty members who are integrating the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games into their research projects. For more information on Brock’s academic activities around the Games, visit brocku.ca/canada-games
Professor of Kinesiology Nota Klentrou uses applied and basic science approaches to study human performance and the physiological implications of exercise and sport training primarily in children and youth. Her research covers a range of topics in pediatric exercise science, musculoskeletal growth, bone metabolism, inflammation, hormonal maturation, energy availability and nutritional supplements. As a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, Klentrou has been recognized as a leader in exercise and pediatric physiology and is one of only four women to have served as the president of the society.
Klentrou is one of eight Brock researchers and scholars who received funding under the 2021-22 round of the VPR Canada Games Grant program. Here, she discusses her research project titled “Dietary energy intake, energy balance, nutrition knowledge and supplement use among youth athletes participating in the 2022 Canada Games.”
Please give a brief overview of your research project.
This study aims to investigate the dietary energy, macro- and micronutrient intake, energy balance and nutrition knowledge of young athletes participating in the 2022 Canada Games and compare it to that of non-athletic youth. In addition, this study will investigate the prevalence of supplement use among young Canadian athletes and their knowledge about supplementation, and will assess the impact of selected aspects of their socioeconomic status on nutritional knowledge, perceptions and dietary behaviours. Participants will be young athletes of various sports participating in the 2022 Canada Games, as well as non-athletic age-matched youth.
What do you expect will be the outcome of your research?
This study will enhance our knowledge and understanding of the nutritional choices young athletes make, along with their supplement use during their preparation for the Canada Games. The results of this study will further contribute to initial groundwork for subsequent research studies on short- and long-term supplementation on recovery and performance in youth and Canadian youth who are athletes.
How will this contribute to knowledge or understanding of the Canada Summer Games?
We hope to better inform decision-making by both Canada Games coaches and the related sport governing bodies regarding nutritional factors that can influence athlete growth and development. This information will lead to better decisions about dietary recommendations prior to, and during, the Games.
How did you become interested in this research?
This project fits my research program, which has been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and sport agencies to identify the cellular mechanisms that explain how sexual maturation, exercise, inflammation, adiposity and nutrition affect musculoskeletal growth and development. In addition, as a retired international rhythmic gymnast myself, and mother of three high performance youth athletes, I also have a personal interest in how exercise training, in combination with dietary choices during childhood and adolescence, affects skeletal development and lifelong bone health.
How do you plan on sharing your research?
We will prepare and submit an article for publication in a relevant scientific journal, such as Pediatric Exercise Science. We also plan to attend the 2023 annual conferences of the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology and the European College of Sport Science. We will share our findings with the athletic community through our established connections. I am working with many sports teams in Canada and Europe and have been involved with local, provincial, national and international organizations, including the International Gymnastics Federation.