Nutrition knowledge and food consumption: Can nutrition knowledge change food behaviour?

School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 1.7). 02/2002; 11 Suppl 3(s3):S579-85. DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-6047.11.supp3.7.x
Source: PubMed


The status and explanatory role of nutrition knowledge is uncertain in public health nutrition. Much of the uncertainty about this area has been generated by conceptual confusion about the nature of knowledge and behaviours, and, nutrition knowledge and food behaviours in particular. So the paper describes several key concepts in some detail. The main argument is that 'nutrition knowledge' is a necessary but not sufficient factor for changes in consumers' food behaviours. Several classes of food behaviours and their causation are discussed. They are influenced by a number of environmental and intra-individual factors, including motivations. The interplay between motivational factors and information processing is important for nutrition promoters as is the distinction between declarative and procedural knowledge. Consideration of the domains of nutrition knowledge shows that their utility is likely to be related to consumers' and nutritionists' particular goals and viewpoints. A brief survey of the recent literature shows that the evidence for the influence of nutrition knowledge on food behaviours is mixed. Nevertheless, recent work suggests that nutrition knowledge may play a small but pivotal role in the adoption of healthier food habits. The implications of this overview for public health nutrition are: (i) We need to pay greater attention to the development of children's and adults' knowledge frameworks (schema building); (ii) There is a need for a renewed proactive role for the education sector; (iii) We need to take account of consumers' personal food goals and their acquisition of procedural knowledge which will enable them to attain their goals; (iv) Finally, much more research into the ways people learn and use food-related knowledge is required in the form of experimental interventions and longitudinal studies.

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Available from: Anthony Worsley
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    • "Previous research has indicated that individuals with greater nutrition knowledge are more likely to consume healthier diets (Ball et al., 2006; Turrell and Kavanagh, 2006; Wardle et al., 2000). Yet, this suggested relationship between nutrition knowledge and diet quality is negated by research advocating that nutritional knowledge alone is not sufficient to influence healthy dietary behaviours (Darmon and Drewnowski, 2008; Worsley, 2002; Drewnowski and Specter, 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To examine if employees with higher nutrition knowledge have better diet quality and lower prevalence of hypertension. Method: Cross-sectional baseline data were obtained from the complex workplace dietary intervention trial, the Food Choice at Work Study. Participants included 828 randomly selected employees (18-64 years) recruited from four multinational manufacturing workplaces in Ireland, 2013. A validated questionnaire assessed nutrition knowledge. Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQ) measured diet quality from which a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) score was constructed. Standardised digital blood pressure monitors measured hypertension. Results: Nutrition knowledge was positively associated with diet quality after adjustment for age, gender, health status, lifestyle and socio-demographic characteristics. The odds of having a high DASH score (better diet quality) were 6 times higher in the highest nutrition knowledge group compared to the lowest group (OR = 5.8, 95% CI 3.5 to 9.6). Employees in the highest nutrition knowledge group were 60% less likely to be hypertensive compared to the lowest group (OR = 0.4, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.87). However, multivariate analyses were not consistent with a mediation effect of the DASH score on the association between nutrition knowledge and blood pressure. Conclusion: Higher nutrition knowledge is associated with better diet quality and lower blood pressure but the inter-relationships between these variables are complex.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
    • "(Spronk et al., 2014). Nutrition knowledge is regarded as a difficult construct to measure (Worsley, 2002). In athlete studies, assessment has included general concepts relevant to maintaining health (e.g., eating more dietary fiber and less saturated fat) (Abood et al., 2004, Spendlove et al., 2012) through to sports specific nutrition knowledge (e.g., an understanding of higher energy, protein, carbohydrate , and fluid needs for sports performance) (Rash et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: This study investigated the association between general nutrition knowledge and dietary quality in a convenience sample of athletes (≥ state level) recruited from four Australian State Sport Institutes. General nutrition knowledge was measured by the validated General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire and diet quality by an adapted version of the Australian Recommended Food Score (A-ARFS) calculated from food frequency questionnaire data. Analysis of variance and linear modeling were used to assess relationships between variables. Data: mean (Standard Deviation). A total of 101 athletes (Males: 37; Females: 64), 18.6 (4.6) years were recruited mainly from team sports (72.0%). Females scored higher than males for both nutrition knowledge (Females: 59.9%; Males: 55.6%; p = .017) and total A-ARFS (Females: 54.2% Males: 49.4%; p = .016). There was no significant influence of age, level of education, athletic caliber or team/individual sport participation on nutrition knowledge or total A-ARFS. However, athletes engaged in previous dietetic consultation had significantly higher nutrition knowledge (61.6% vs. 56.6%; p = .034) but not total A-ARFS (53.6% vs. 52.0%; p = .466). Nutrition knowledge was weakly but positively associated with total A-ARFS (r = .261, p= .008) and A-ARFS vegetable subgroup (r = .252, p = .024) independently explaining 6.8% and 5.1% of the variance respectively. Gender independently explained 5.6% of the variance in nutrition knowledge (p= .017) and 6.7% in total A-ARFS (p = .016). Higher nutrition knowledge and female gender were weakly but positively associated with better diet quality. Given the importance of nutrition to health and optimal sports performance, intervention to improve nutrition knowledge and healthy eating is recommended, especially for young male athletes.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism
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    • "However, we recognize that knowledge could play a broader role in food choice by supporting dietary intake regardless of food label use. Many studies have shown associations between nutrition knowledge and dietary behaviors (Ahmadi, Torkamani, Sohrabi, & Ghahremani, 2013; Bonaccio et al., 2013; Dickson-Spillmann & Siegrist, 2011; Drichoutis, Lazaridis, & Nayga, 2005; Fitzgerald et al., 2008; McKinnon et al., 2014; Wardle, Parmenter, & Waller, 2000; Worsley, 2002). We also recognize that some consumers are uninterested in eating healthful foods or using food labels, regardless of their nutrition knowledge. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nutrition information on food labels is an important source of nutrition information but is typically underutilized by consumers. This review examined whether consumer nutrition knowledge is important for communication of nutrition information through labels on packaged foods. A cognitive processing model posits that consumers with prior knowledge are more likely to use label information effectively, that is, focus on salient information, understand information, and make healthful decisions based on this information. Consistent with this model, the review found that nutrition knowledge provides support for food label use. However, nutrition knowledge measures varied widely in terms of the dimensions they included and the extensiveness of the assessment. Relatively few studies investigated knowledge effects on the use of ingredient lists and claims, compared to nutrition facts labels. We also found an overreliance on convenience samples relying on younger adults, limiting our understanding of how knowledge supports food label use in later life. Future research should 1) investigate which dimensions, or forms, of nutrition knowledge are most critical to food label use and dietary decision making and 2) determine whether increases in nutrition knowledge can promote great use of nutrition information on food labels. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Appetite
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