Report Title

General Nutrition Knowledge Among High School Students

Collective Title

Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Research Reports 2019


Background: Obesity now affects 1-in-5 children and adolescents in the United States. As of 2018, the prevalence of obesity has reached 18.5% and affects about 13.7 million children. Obese children are at increased risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol that can lead to cardiovascular disease, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Since health habits are commonly established during the formative years, it is imperative that good food choices and basic knowledge about nutrition be taught at an early age. This study examined whether students had received sufficient teaching about nutrition, particularly as it relates to obesity, by the time they reach high school age.

Objective: To identify the level of nutrition knowledge among public and private high school students to assess if gender, age, grade level, and physical activity are correlated with survey scores.

Design: A self-administered, anonymous questionnaire was administered that consisted of 20 questions—fifteen questions about general nutrition knowledge and five questions on demographics.

Participants: Data was collected on 1,325 high school participants ranging in age from 13-18 years from a local private school (Loma Linda Academy) and a nearby public school (Redlands East Valley High School).

Main outcomes: Addressing nutrition knowledge in order to improve the teaching of concepts that could lead to a healthier lifestyle beginning at a young age.

Secondary outcomes: Incorporating nutrition education in adolescent years may decrease risk factors for obesity in adult years.

Statistics: Frequency (%), chi-square test, ANOVA, and post hoc tests were used to analyze data. Data were analyzed using SPSS Statistics Software version 25.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA).

Results: The average score of all students was 42%. There was a significant difference between total scores and age, grade, physical activity level, and if a nutrition course had previously been taken. (P<0.001, P<0.001, P=0.039, and P=0.004, respectively)

Conclusion: General nutrition knowledge among high school students is inadequate. Teaching nutrition knowledge in the adolescent years can lead to a healthier lifestyle as an adult. This may reduce risk factors for chronic diseases and obesity in the future and thereby improve quality of life. It is urgent that schools re-design their curriculum to improve nutrition knowledge.

LLU Discipline

Nutrition and Dietetics


Nutrition and Dietetics


School of Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

James E. Carter III

Second Advisor

Lida Gharibvand

Third Advisor

Gurinder Bains

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Nutrition--Study and teaching (Secondary)


Research Report

Page Count

18 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Research Reports

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. University Libraries.