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A questionnaire assessment of nutrition knowledge - validity and reliability issues

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ashley AdamsonORCiD, Professor Paula Moynihan


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Objective: This study describes an evaluation of validity and reliability measures in a questionnaire designed to assess knowledge of applied nutrition in children participating in an after-school care dietary intervention programme being undertaken in an area of high social disadvantage. Design: Three domains were assessed: Knowledge of Applied Nutrition (KN), Knowledge of Food Preparation (KP) and Perceived Confidence in Cooking Skills (PC). Four pilot studies were undertaken to determine item reliability, test-retest reliability, discrimination and difficulty indices, and content, cognitive and face validity. Setting: Primary schools in Dundee, Scotland and Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Subjects: Ninety-eight children aged 11 years. Results: The final instrument comprised 36 questions (18 KN items, 9 KP items and 9 PC items) presented on four sides of paper, which could be self-completed in less than 15 minutes. Question formatting included open and closed structures (KP) and multiple choice (KN and PC) items. All knowledge questions could be answered correctly by 5 to 95% of the target population, with discrimination scores ranging from 0.06 to 0.83. Retest reliability scores were significant (KN 0.458, P < 0.001; KP 0.577, P < 0.001; PC 0.381, P < 0.001) and internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of each component was also significant. Conclusion: The test meets basic psychometric criteria for reliability and validity and forms a suitable instrument for measuring changes associated with intervention work aimed at improving food and dietary knowledge.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Anderson AS, Bell A, Adamson A, Moynihan P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Public Health Nutrition

Year: 2002

Volume: 5

Issue: 3

Pages: 497-503

ISSN (print): 1368-9800

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2727

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1079/PHNPHN2001307


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