Validation of a revised General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire for Australia

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




Nutrition knowledge is a construct that describes a basic understanding of nutrients in food to decisions regarding everyday food choices. It is essential in establishing and maintaining strategies that reduce the burden of disease and promote wellbeing. Higher levels of knowledge have been associated with numerous health benefits. This includes an increased purchasing of healthy foods, consumption of fruit and vegetables, more nutritious food choices and a lower consumption of nutrient-poor foods. Nutrition programmes at population and community levels often focus on the development of knowledge to influence dietary habits and behaviours. Determining the effectiveness of these interventions requires a measurement of change in knowledge. This is most commonly assessed with a questionnaire.


The General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (GNKQ) was developed in the United Kingdom in 1999 and validated for Australia in 2008. Changes in national nutrition recommendations and food availability prompted the redevelopment and revalidation of the UK questionnaire in 2016. However, the Australian questionnaire had not been subsequently updated. Therefore, this study aimed to validate a nutrition knowledge questionnaire appropriate for use in the Australian context.




Content validity was determined using a sample of academic dietitians in Australia (n 8). Face validity was undertaken with retail employees (n 11) whose highest level of education was secondary school. Ninety-three undergraduate nutrition and engineering students at Queensland University of Technology completed the questionnaire for construct validity. Nineteen students were contacted a week later for test–retest reliability.


In the 117-scored questionnaire, nutrition students scored consistently higher in all sections and overall (87 %, M 102, IQR 95, 107) compared with engineering students (77 %, M 82, IQR 76, 87·25, P < 0·01). Internal reliability of the questionnaire was high (α = 0·92) as was test–retest reliability (rs = 0·96, ICC2,1 = 0·99). AUS-R NKQ determined significant differences between individuals with known higher levels of knowledge. It also obtained high validity, reliability and consistency within an Australian sample.


AUS-R NKQ refined through this research is valid and reliable. It would be an appropriate questionnaire for assessing effectiveness of nutrition knowledge interventions for public health programmes, clinicians and researchers.


Thompson, C., Vidgen, H.A., Gallegos, D., & Hannan-Jones, M. (2020). Validation of a revised General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire for Australia. Public Health Nutrition, 24(7) 1-11.

Dr Courtney Stewart (RNutr, FHEA)

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

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