Food provision and nutrition support at major athletic competition - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Food provision and nutrition support at major athletic competition

The overarching aim of this project has been to gather evidence about the most appropriate food provision and nutrition support for athletes while competing at major competition events such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

Research team

Funding partners

  • Delaware North Companies Australia Pty Ltd (Melbourne, Dehli and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
  • Global Hospitality Group (Taiwan 2017 Universiade)
  • Aramark/Spotless Services Joint Venture (Sydney 2000 Olympic Games)

Collaborators

PINES (Professionals in Nutrition and Exercise Science)

Background

Over the past thirty years there has been an increasing emphasis on the suitability of the food provided for athletes at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. This has mimicked the increase in understanding of the role of nutrition in sports performance. Initial research conducted at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games (Pelly, O'Connor, Denyer, & Caterson, 2009) suggested that expert input into the food provision and nutrition service was a necessary component of the catering service. Since this time, there has been substantial growth in the number and diversity of athletes competing at these events and a need to consider different cultures, sports, ages, and therapeutic dietary needs. Food provision in this environment still presents with challenges that are unique to the location in which the event takes place and continue to be affected by the changes in organisers and catering companies. Understanding the specific needs of athletes in this environment can assist organisers, caterers and officials to provide appropriate food and nutrition support.

About the project

Professor Pelly has implemented a nutrition program and evaluated the food provision at a number of events over the past 20 years including the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Melbourne 2006, Delhi 2010 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, and the Taiwan 2017 Universiade (World university games- See media article) Prof Pelly has worked with Australian dietitians to implement the nutrition service and conduct research at these events.

The research conducted on this project as a whole has resulted in the forming of a committee (chaired by Professor Pelly) for the international organisation PINES. This working party has reviewed the food provision on behalf of the IOC for the Beijing (2008), Vancouver (2010) London (2012) Sochi (2014), Rio (2016) and PyeongChang (2018) summer and winter Olympic Games. The input of a sports dietitian into the food provision for these events is now mandated by the organising committee and part of the tender application by caterers. Prof. Pelly has a number of research studies and book chapters published on this topic, and has collaborated with other nutrition and dietetic researchers including Dr Sarah Burkhart, Dr Hattie Wright, Associate Professor Gary Slater, and PhD candidates Judy Tweedie and Rachael Thurecht.

Prof Pelly is interested in exploring the role the environment has on athlete food choice and how this is driven at a policy level. She is also interested in the global impact of the provision of food and catering at major events.

Related publications

Pelly, F., Tweedie J (2020). Inclusion of nutrition expertise in catering operations at a major sporting event: a qualitative case study using a foodservice systems approach. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Vol.121(1), pp.121-133; 2021

Thurecht, R & Pelly, F. The Athlete Food Choice Questionnaire (AFCQ): Validity and Reliability in a sample of International High-Performance Athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Accepted Jan 19, 2021.

Pelly, F., Wright, H (2020). The outcomes of a nutrition service provided by dietitians at a major multi-cultural competition event: an observational study. Nutrition and Dietetics, Accepted 02-Oct-2020  https://doi.org/10.1111/1747-0080.12633

Thurecht, R., Pelly, F. (2020) Key Factors Influencing the Food Choices of Athletes at two Distinct Major International Competition. Nutrients  Vol. 12, No. 4, Article No. 924

Pelly, F., Parker-Simmons, Susie. (2019). Food Provision at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games: Expert Review and Future Recommendations International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism / Vol. 29, No. 4, pp.382-38

Pelly, F., Thurect, R. (2019) Evaluation of Athletes’ Food Choices during Competition with Use of Digital Images. Nutrients Vol. 11, No. 7

Thurect, R., Pelly, F . (2019) Development of a New Tool for Managing Performance Nutrition: The Athlete Food Choice Questionnaire. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism / Vol. 29, No. 6, pp.620-627

Burkhart, S., Pelly, F . (2016). Dietary intake of athletes seeking nutrition advice at a major international competition. Nutrients Vol. 8, No. 638, pp.1-14

Pelly, F., Burkhart, S., Dunn, P. Factors influencing food choice of athletes at international competition events (2018). Appetite / Vol. 121, pp.173-178

Burkhart, S., Pelly, F . (2016). Dietary intake of athletes seeking nutrition advice at a major international competition. Nutrients Vol. 8, No. 638, pp.1-14

Pelly, F., Meyer, N L.,  Pearce, J., Burkhart, S J., Burke, LM (2014). Evaluation of food provision and nutrition support at the London 2012 Olympic Games: The opinion of sports nutrition experts International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 24 (6), 674-683

Burkhart S, Pelly F. (2013). Athletes’ opinions of food provision at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games: the influence of culture and sport. Int. J. Sport Nut. Exerc. Metab. 23: 11-23.

Burkhart, S. and Pelly, F (2013). Athletes use and opinion of point of choice nutrition labels at a major international competition. Appetite, 70, 6-13

Pelly, F | Burkhart, S J*(2014). Dietary regimens of athletes competing at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 24 (1), 28-36

Burkhart, S., Pelly F. Beyond sports nutrition (2014): The diverse role of dietitians at a major competition event. J Hum Nutr & Diet. Vol 27, No. 6, 639-647

Pelly F, O’Connor H, Denyer G., and  Caterson, I (2011). Evolution of food provision at the summer Olympic games: an historical perspective. Nutr Rev. Vol. 69(6):321–332 

Pelly F, O’Connor H, Denyer G., and  Caterson, I. (2009)  Catering for the athletes’ village at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games:  The role of sports dietitians. Int. J. Sports Nutr. Ex. Metab. 19, 340-354

Pelly F., King T, and O’Connor H.(2006). Factors influencing food choice of elite athletes at an international competition dining hall. Proc. 2nd Aust. Assoc. for Exer. Sports Sci.: 131.(short paper)

Pelly F, Inge K, King T, and O’Connor H.(2006). Provision of a nutrition support service at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. Proc. 2nd Aust. Assoc. for Exer. Sports Sci.: 132.(short paper)

Pelly F. Nutrition at the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games (2000). Food Australia: 52 (9): 404

Book chapters and other publications:

Pelly F. and Mirchin J. Catering for athletes. In Burke. L., and Deakin, V. (Eds.) Clinical Sports Nutrition, 5th edition. McGraw Hill, 5th edition (2021), 4th (2015), 3rd (2009) and 2nd (2006).

Pelly, F. Food and Nutrition Considerations at Major Competitions. In IOC Encyclopedia of Sports Nutrition. International Olympic Committee. Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine: An IOC Medical Commission Publication, Volume 19 / pp.439-454, Maughan, Ronald J (eds), 2014

O'Connor, Helen | Pelly, F | Gifford, Janelle (2016). From plate to podium: what does it take to fuel Olympic athletes? The Conversation. (Australia)

Pelly, F. Food provided at the Olympic Games (August 2016). Bon Appetit (USA)

Burkett, B J | Pelly, F | Clacy, A | Lovell, G | Kean, Bridie | Goldsmith, Ben (2016). From the Sunshine Coast to Rio de Janeiro Along the Pathway Of High Performance Sport University of the Sunshine Coast Conference.

Pelly, F. Food Provision at the Olympic Games (2012). New Scientist Magazine Interview

Nutrition at a major athletic competition