Validity of the Rapid Eating Assessment for Patients for assessing dietary patterns in NCAA athletes

Jonathan M. Kurka, Matthew Buman, Barbara Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Athletes may be at risk for developing adverse health outcomes due to poor eating behaviors during college. Due to the complex nature of the diet, it is difficult to include or exclude individual food items and specific food groups from the diet. Eating behaviors may better characterize the complex interactions between individual food items and specific food groups. The purpose was to examine the Rapid Eating Assessment for Patients survey (REAP) as a valid tool for analyzing eating behaviors of NCAA Division-I male and female athletes using pattern identification. Also, to investigate the relationships between derived eating behavior patterns and body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) while stratifying by sex and aesthetic nature of the sport. Methods: Two independent samples of male (n = 86; n = 139) and female (n = 64; n = 102) collegiate athletes completed the REAP in June-August 2011 (n = 150) and June-August 2012 (n = 241). Principal component analysis (PCA) determined possible factors using wave-1 athletes. Exploratory (EFA) and confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) determined factors accounting for error and confirmed model fit in wave-2 athletes. Wave-2 athletes' BMI and WC were recorded during a physical exam and sport participation determined classification in aesthetic and non-aesthetic sport. Mean differences in eating behavior pattern score were explored. Regression models examined interactions between pattern scores, participation in aesthetic or non-aesthetic sport, and BMI and waist circumference controlling for age and race. Results: A 5-factor PCA solution accounting for 60.3% of sample variance determined fourteen questions for EFA and CFA. A confirmed solution revealed patterns of Desserts, Healthy food, Meats, High-fat food, and Dairy. Pattern score (mean ± SE) differences were found, as non-aesthetic sport males had a higher (better) Dessert score than aesthetic sport males (2.16 ± 0.07 vs. 1.93 ± 0.11). Female aesthetic athletes had a higher score compared to non-aesthetic female athletes for the Dessert (2.11 ± 0.11 vs. 1.88 ± 0.08), Meat (1.95 ± 0.10 vs. 1.72 ± 0.07), High-fat food (1.70 ± 0.08 vs. 1.46 ± 0.06), and Dairy (1.70 ± 0.11 vs. 1.43 ± 0.07) patterns. Conclusions: REAP is a construct valid tool to assess dietary patterns in college athletes. In light of varying dietary patterns, college athletes should be evaluated for healthful and unhealthful eating behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number42
JournalJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 15 2014


  • Athlete
  • Factor analysis
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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