A CONSORT extension covering randomized cross-over trials has now been published (Dwan et al., 2019), with a revised checklist that focuses on issues of primary relevance to clinical trials involving medicine or health care outcomes. However, such issues specific to clinical trials may have different relevance when considered relative to the tightly controlled, laboratory-based, mechanistic experiments that are common in exercise science. For example, cross-over designs may involve order effects between assessments; in medical trials, this tends to occur most commonly due to the treatment or intervention itself, requiring a sufficient wash-out interval before repeated assessments. By contrast, the carry-over effect in sports nutrition research is commonly related to the assessment itself, which often tends to be more invasive or demanding for the participant than a snapshot of health status. Indeed, exercise tests of human performance are particularly prone to learning or fatigue effects and even physical adaptations that can persist for weeks or months after the first test. For example, the so-called “repeated bout effect,” which describes how a single exposure to unaccustomed physical exercise that induces muscle damage can impart profound and lasting protection from similar exercise in the future (Byrnes et al., 1985; McHugh et al., 1999). Participants in exercise trials may also be elite athletes whose habitual levels of physical activity (and diet) may show profound variation over time (i.e., periodization), thus further complicating the interpretation of longitudinal studies.
The PRESENT (Proper Reporting of Evidence in Sport and Exercise Nutrition Trials) 2020 checklist (see Appendix) has therefore been adapted from the CONSORT guidelines to specifically address the unique combination of challenges and opportunities facing researchers within the broad fields of sports nutrition and exercise metabolism. This current paper complements and expands upon the CONSORT checklist by providing emphasis and examples that are commonplace or of greatest relevance to research in this subject area. The PRESENT 2020 checklist was designed with consideration of the need to minimize the burden on submitting authors while ensuring that standards for reporting research are met; it should allow researchers to quickly determine whether all relevant information is included in their manuscript. Of course, it is possible to meet all the factors on the checklist despite either having conducted a poor study and/or having reported a good study poorly, whereas some items on the checklist may not be applicable even for rigorously conducted research. Nonetheless, consideration and discussion of the factors identified in the checklist should improve the reporting of exercise- and nutrition-related research in the immediate future and has the potential to enhance the design and conduct of trials in the long term.
The following sections expand on and justify the rationale for each of the items included in the associated submission checklist.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2020|