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Reliability of a dietary questionnaire on food habits, eating behaviour and nutritional knowledge of adolescents


Objective: To develop a dietary questionnaire on food habits, eating behaviour and nutrition knowledge of adolescents and to examine its reliability.

Design: A cross-sectional baseline survey. The questionnaire was self-administered to study participants twice with 7 days between each administration.

Setting: A school community in Pavia, Italy.

Subjects: A group of students (n=72, aged 14–17 y, both sexes) studying in a secondary school in the second year of the course were invited to compile a dietary questionnaire during school time. Informed written consent was obtained from each subject and their parents. Subjects were initially recruited for a nutrition intervention; recruitment was opportunistic and school based.

Statistical analyses: Reliability was assessed using the Cronbach's alpha and the Pearson correlation coefficients.

Results: Cronbach's alpha ranges from a minimum of 0.55 to a maximum of 0.75, indicating that only two sections have a poor internal consistency. The Pearson correlation coefficients range from a minimum of 0.78 to a maximum of 0.88, indicating a very good temporal stability of the questionnaire. All the Pearson correlation coefficients are statistically significant with P<0.01.

Conclusions: The present questionnaire has the potential to measure the effects of nutrition interventions on adolescents because of its stability in making comparisons over time. The instruments is low in cost and easy to administer and analyse; moreover, it could be modified appropriately to fit the needs of other populations as well.

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Authors and Affiliations



Guarantors: G Turconi and M Celsa.

Contributors: G Turconi and M Celsa: project of the study and development of the questionnaire. G Biino and C Rezzani: study of validity and reliability. MA Sartirana: collaboration in development of the questionnaire and administration of it. C Roggi: supervisor.



The questionnaire must be completed in each section; you must answer each item with only one choice; it is important that you complete it by yourself; don’t leave any item without an answer. If you have any doubt don’t hesitate to ask the dietician or the teacher.

Your answers will remain anonymous and the data collected will be used only for research.

Section B. Food Frequency Consumption

Table A1 The items are designed to record your food habits.

Table 3 Table a1

When more than one food are present altogether, answer the question “yes” if you consume even only one of these.

Section C. Food Habits

Table A2

Table 4 Table a2

Section D. Physical Activity and Lifestyle

Table A3

Table 5 Table a3

Section E. Healthy and Unhealthy Dietary Habits and Food

Table A4

Table 6 Table a4

Section F. Self-efficacy Table A5

Table 7 Table a5

Section G. Barriers to Change

Table A6

Table 8 Table a6

Section H. Nutrition Knowledge

Table A7

Table 9 Table a7

Section I. Knowledge on Food Safety

Table A8

Table 10 Table a8

Section J. Food Safety and Behaviour in Hygene Practices

Table A9

Table 11 Table a9

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Turconi, G., Celsa, M., Rezzani, C. et al. Reliability of a dietary questionnaire on food habits, eating behaviour and nutritional knowledge of adolescents. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, 753–763 (2003).

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  • dietary questionnaire
  • food habits
  • eating behaviour
  • reliability
  • adolescents

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