Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

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

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

References

  • Anderson AS, Umapathy D, Palumbo L & Pearson DWM (1988): Nutrition knowledge assessed in a group of medical in-patients. J. Hum. Nutr. Diet. 1, 39–46.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anesbury T & Tiggemann M (2000): An attempt to reduce negative stereotyping of obesity in children by changing controllability beliefs. Health Educ. Res. 15, 145–152.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Bingham SA (1987): The dietary assessment of individuals; methods, accuracy, new techniques and recommendations. Nutr. Abstr. Rev. (Ser. A) 57, 705–742.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bingham SA (1995): Limitations of the various methods for collecting dietary intake data. Ann. Nutr. Metab. 35, 117–121.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Birkett NJ & Boulet J (1995): Validation of a food habits questionnaire: poor performance in male manual laborers. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 95, 558–563.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Coates TJ, Peterson AC & Perry C (1982): Promoting Adolescent Health. A Dialog on Research and Practice. New York: Academic press.

    Google Scholar 

  • De Vellis RF (1991): Scale Development Theory and Applications. London: SAGE publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Doll R & Peto R (1981): The causes of cancer: quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in United States today. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 66, 1191–1308.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Falconer H, Baghurst KI & Rump EE (1993): Nutrient intakes in relation to health-related aspects of personality. J. Nutr. Educ. 25, 307–319.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gracey D, Stanley N, Burke V, Corti B & Beilin LJ (1996): Nutritional knowledge, beliefs and behaviours in teenage school students. Health Educ. Res. 11, 187–204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Greene GE, Rossi SR, Reed GR, Willey C & Prochaska JO (1994): Stages of change for reducing dietary fat to 30% of energy or less. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 94, 105–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hattie J (1985): Methodology review: assessing unidimensionality of tests and items. Appl. Psycholo. Meas. 9, 139–164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hood MY, Moore LL, Sundarajan-Ramamurti A, Singer M, Cupples LA & Ellison RC (2000): Parental activity and diet in 5 to 7 years old children. Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 24, 1319–1325.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hu FB, Rimm E, Smith-Warner SA, Feskanich D, Stampfer MJ, Ascherio A, Simpson L & Willet WC (1999): Reproducibility and validity of dietary patterns assessed with a food-frequency questionnaire. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 69, 243–249.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Johansson L, Solvoll K, Opdahl S, Bjørneboe GE & Drevon CA (1997): Response rates with different distribution methods and reward, and reproducibility of a quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 51, 346–353.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kelder SH, Perry CL, Klepp KI & Lytle LL (1994): Longitudinal tracking of adolescent smoking, physical activity and food choice behaviours. Am. J. Public Health 84, 1121–1126.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kennedy LA, Hunt C & Hodgson P (1998): Nutrition education program based on EFNEP for low-income women in the United Kingdom: friends with food. J. Nutr. Educ. 30, 89–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keys A (1980): Seven Countries. A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Keys A (1986): Food items, specific nutrients, and dietary risk. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 43, 477–479.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Keys A (1995): Mediterranean diet and public health: personal reflections. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 61, 1321S–1323S.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kreuter MW, Oswald DL, Bull FC & Clark EM (1998): Are tailored health education materials always more effective than non-tailored materials? Health Educ. Res. 15, 305–315.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kristall AR, Shattuck AL & Henry HJ (1990): Patterns of dietary behaviour associated with selecting diet low in fat: reliability and validity of a behavioural approach to dietary assessment. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 90, 214–220.

    Google Scholar 

  • Labonte R, Feather J & Hills M (1999): A story/dialogue method for health promotion knowledge development and evaluation. Health Educ. Res. 14, 39–50.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Larkey LK, Alatorre C, Buller DB, Morrill C, Buller MK, Taren D & Sennott-Miller L (1999): Communication strategies for dietary change in a worksite peer educator intervention. Health Educ. Res. 14, 777–790.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Little P, Barnett J, Kinmonth AL, Margetts B, Gabbay J, Thompson R, Warm D & Wooton S (2000): Can dietary assessment in general practice target patients with unhealthy diet?. Br. J. Gen. Pract. 50, 43–45.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Liu S, Lee IM, Ajani U, Cole SR, Buring JE & Manson JE (2001): Intake of vegetables rich in carotenoids and risk of coronary heart disease in men: the physicians' health study. Int. J. Epidemiol 30, 130–135.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • McDougall P (1998): Teenagers and nutrition: assessing levels of knowledge. Health Visitor 71, 62–64.

    Google Scholar 

  • Muller MJ, Koertzinger I, Mast M, Langnase K, Grund A & Koertringer I (1999): Physical activity and diet in 5 to 7 years old children. Public Health Nutr. 2, 443–444.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Parmenter K & Wardle J (1999): Development of a general nutrition knowledge questionnaire for adults. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 53, 298–308.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Perkins L (2000): Developing a tool health professionals involved in producing and evaluating nutrition education leaflets. J. Hum Nutr. Dietet. 13, 41–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Povey R, Conner M, Sparks P, James R & Shepherd R (1998): Interpretations of healthy and unhealthy eating, and implications for dietary change. Health Educ. Res. 13, 171–183.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Resnicow K, Hearn M, Delano RK, Conklin T, Orlandi MA & Wynder EL (1997): Development of a nutritional knowledge scale for elementary school students: toward a national surveillance system. J. Nutr. Educ. 28, 156–164.

    Google Scholar 

  • Resnicow K, Davis M et al. (1998): How best to measure implementation of school health curricula: a comparison of three measures. Health Educ. Res. 13, 239–250.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sapp SG & Jensen HH (1997): The reliability and validity of nutrition knowledge and diet–health awareness tests developed from the 1989–1991 diet and knowledge surveys. J. Nutr. Educ. 29, 63–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shediac-Rizkallah MC & Bone LR (1998): Planning for the sustainability of community-based health programs: conceptual frameworks and future directions for research, practice and policy. Health Educ. Res. 13, 87–108.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sorensen G, Hunt MK, Cohen N, Stoddart A, Stein E, Phillips J, Baker F, Combe C, Hebert J & Palombo R (1998): Worksite and family education for dietary change: the treatwell 5-a-day program. Health Educ. Res. 13, 577–591.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Steenhuis IHM, Brug J, Van Assema P & Imbos TJ (1996): The validation of a test to measure knowledge about the fat content of food products. Nutr. Health 10, 331–339.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Towler G & Shephard R (1990): Development of a nutritional knowledge questionnaire. J. Hum. Nutr. Diet. 3, 255–264.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Truswell AS & Darnton-Hill I (1981): Food habits of adolescents. Nutr. Rev. 39, 73–88.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Ulbricht TL & Southgate DA (1991): Coronary heart disease: seven dietary factors. Lancet 338, 985–992.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Vandongen R, Jenner DA, Thompson C, Taggart AC, Spickett EE, Burke V, Beilin LJ, Milligan RA & Dunbar DL (1995): A controlled evaluation of a fitness and nutrition intervention program on cardiovascular health in 10- to 12-years-old children. Prevent. Med. 24, 9–22.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • WHO (1990): Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. WHO Technical Report Series 797, Geneva: WHO.

  • Williams HM, Woodward DR, Ball PJ, Cumming FJ, Hornsby H & Boon J (1993): A. Food perceptions and food consumption among Tasmanian high school students. Aust. J. Nutr. Dietetics 50, 156–162.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yaroch Al, Resnicow K, Petty AD & Khan LK (2000): Validity and reliability of a modified qualitative dietary fat index in low-income, overweight, African American adolescent girls. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 100, 1525–1529.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

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.

Appendix

Appendix

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

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601607

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601607

Keywords

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

This article is cited by

Search

Quick links