This study aims to develop and empirically assess an instrument for measuring nutrition knowledge aligned to the North Carolina (NC) Healthful Living Essential Standards for teaching nutrition. The instrument was critically evaluated and used to assess nutrition knowledge in Eastern NC students.
Researchers evaluated 250 students in 16, eighth-grade classrooms using a 22-question researcher-developed nutrition knowledge questionnaire. Assessment questions were aligned with NC Healthful Living Essential Standards, which suggest students should be able to: apply tools to plan healthy nutrition, create strategies to improve dietary intake, create plans for lifelong health, and evaluate health information and products. Survey reliability and validity (face) were evaluated prior to study implementation. Descriptive statistics for individual items, total and individual standard scores were analyzed. Instrument efficacy was evaluated using item-difficulty and discrimination indexes.
The survey displayed appropriate levels of item difficulty with three exceptions: two questions were identified as too difficult, and one as too easy. The majority of items also displayed acceptable (>0.20) or excellent (>0.40) discrimination (17 out of 20). Average total nutrition knowledge score was 11.82-3.26 (53.7 per cent). Within aligned standards, students scored highest in creating plans for lifelong health (79 per cent) and lowest in evaluating health information (37.6 per cent).
Study findings suggest eighth-grade students may only possess half the nutrition knowledge standards expected in the eighth grade. More instrument development is needed to supply researchers with standard means of assessing nutrition knowledge.
This work was supported by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of the NIH. Authors would like to thank the teachers and students for their participation in the study.
Hodges, C., Roseno, A., Duffrin, M.W. and Stage, V.C. (2017), "Middle school nutrition knowledge tool development and evaluation in North Carolina", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 332-345. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-06-2016-0079
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