Exploring nutrition knowledge levels of Australian university students: findings from the AUS-R NKQ validation study

Thompson, C., Vidgen, H. A., Gallegos, D., & Hannan-Jones, M.

Abstract

Background:

University is a time when students begin to establish some independence and responsibility for their food intake, however unhealthy dietary habits often increase during this time. Nutrition knowledge has been proposed to improve dietary behaviours of students. However, until recently there was not a valid or reliable nutrition knowledge questionnaire for Australia that reflected current public health nutrition guidelines. While a tool, the AUS-R NKQ has now been validated and published, little was done to explore students’ responses to the items within the questionnaire, thus determining their nutrition knowledge levels.

Methods:

The responses to the AUS-R NKQ by 47 nutrition students and 46 engineering students were coded and scored, and items that were answered correctly by more than 60%, or incorrectly by more than 20% of each cohort was flagged.

Results:

Nutrition students scored well in section 1; dietary recommendations, section 3; food choices and section 4; diet-disease relationships, while engineering students performed well in section 1 and 3. Engineering students performed poorly in section 4, and both cohorts performed poorly in section 2; nutrients in foods.

Conclusion:

Therefore, focusing on improving knowledge of nutrients in foods and diet-disease relationships may result in higher levels of nutrition knowledge, but whether this translates into improved dietary intake behaviours needs further exploration. Additionally, further research is needed in a larger and more diverse sample of students.

 

Thompson, C., Vidgen, H. A., Gallegos, D., & Hannan-Jones, M. (2020, June 12). Exploring nutrition knowledge levels of Australian university students: findings from the AUS-R NKQ validation study. In University of Newcastle Nutrition & Cooking Education Symposium.

 

Dr Courtney Thompson (RNutr, FHEA)

BNutrSc, BBiomedSc(Hons), PhD
Director, NPR Consulting

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