General Nutrition Knowledge Among High School Students
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.
Nutrition and Dietetics
Nutrition and Dietetics
School of Allied Health Professions
James E. Carter III
Master of Science (MS)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Nutrition--Study and teaching (Secondary)
Loma Linda University Libraries
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.
Cornejo, Annique, "General Nutrition Knowledge Among High School Students" (2019). Loma Linda University Research Reports. 33.
Loma Linda University Research Reports
Loma Linda University. University Libraries.