The federal reimbursable meals offered in American school cafeterias have recently been revised with improved nutrition standards yet may not meet the needs of student athletes who require additional energy intake. While many epidemiological studies report high numbers of adolescents who are overweight or obese, there are close to eight million high school students involved in interscholastic sports—more now than ever before. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to establish participation rates in the federal school meals programs in a local Central Florida school district between athlete and non-athlete high school populations. Additionally, the study aimed to establish athlete and non-athlete participation rates in the federal free/reduced lunch program and determine the average number of hours spent in physical activity between athlete and non-athletes in one week. An online questionnaire was developed to assess students' self-reported energy intake and energy expenditure through sport participation and physical activity acquired during leisure time. Results of the study revealed no significance difference in federal school breakfast or lunch consumption rates between athletes and non-athletes. The study also revealed similar participation rates in the free and reduced lunch program between athlete and non-athletes when purchasing school lunches. Additionally, while non-athletes reported more average hours acquiring physical activity in their leisure time than athletes did, athletes accrued more average hours of overall physical activity due to time spent in interscholastic sport practice. Lastly, results determined significant differences in Body Mass Index (BMI) with athletes having lower BMIs than non-athletes. If meals policies evolve to be more accurately reflective of energy intake needs of athletes and non-athletes, school meals could appropriately fuel student performance in the classroom, the athletic field, and beyond.
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Redd, Alison, "Exploring the Self-Reported Dietary Habits and Physical Activity Between Athletes and Non-Athletes in Four Central Florida Public High Schools" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5971.