To identify and review data collection techniques used to measure preschool children’s knowledge of food and nutrition.
A systematic review of published research guided by the Preferred Reported Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses statement.
Published journal articles between 1980 and 2013 reporting research involving the measurement of preschool children’s (aged 3–5 years) knowledge of food and nutrition.
Twenty studies were eligible for inclusion. The studies reported the use of a range of innovative age-appropriate techniques to assess children’s knowledge of food and nutrition. Data collection techniques were grouped under 3 broad approaches: (1) interviews, (2) use of stimulus material and prompts, and (3) structured play-based activities. Only 3 of the reviewed studies tested for both reliability (test-retest and internal consistency) and face and content validity. Only 9 of the reviewed studies reported pilot-testing their instruments before use.
Conclusions and Implications
Results from this review suggest that additional research is needed to develop more valid and reliable measures to assess preschool children’s knowledge of food and nutrition. Assessment tools need to be pilot-tested, refined, and adapted to suit both the specific audience and the components of the nutrition knowledge being targeted by an intervention before implementing a nutrition education program.
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
Purchase one-time access:Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
SNEB Member LoginSNEB Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Login via the SNEB Website to access all journal content and features.
Subscribe:Subscribe to Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- Prioritizing Areas for Action in the Field of Population Base Prevention of Childhood Obesity.World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland2012
- Worldwide trends in childhood overweight and obesity.Int J Paediatr Obes. 2006; 1: 11-25
- Health-related knowledge and preferences in low socio-economic kindergarteners.Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012; 9: 1479-5868
- A tool for assessing healthy food knowledge in 5-6 year-old Australian children.Public Health Nutr. 2011; 14: 1177-1183
- The substance and sources of young children’s healthy eating and physical activity knowledge: implications for obesity prevention efforts.Child Care Health Dev. 2011; 37: 368-376
- Children’s perceptions of healthful eating and physical activity.Can J Diet Prac Res. 2010; 71: 19-23
- Development of ideas about food and nutrition from preschool to university.Appetite. 2010; 55: 556-564
- Research with children: methodological issues and innovative techniques.J Early Child Res. 2010; 8: 17
- Methodological and ethical issues in conducting qualitative research with children and young people: a literature review.Int J Nurs Stud. 2007; 44: 1250-1260
- Exploring a methodology with young children: Reflections on using the mosaic and ecocultural approaches.Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. 2013; 38: 35-40
- Listening to and involving young children: a review of research and practice.Early Child Dev Care. 2006; 175: 37-41
- The PRISMA Group. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: the PRISMA Statement.PLoS Med. 2009; 151: 264-269
- Parental messages and the nutrition awareness of preschool children.J Nutr Educ. 1990; 22: 24-29
- A practical approach to evidence grading.J Comm J Qual Improv. 2000; 26: 700-712
- Reliability of health knowledge measurement in very young children.J Sch Health. 1988; 58: 21-25
- Examining preschoolers’ nutrition knowledge using a meal creation and food group classification task: age and gender differences.Early Child Dev Care. 2010; 180: 787-798
- Preschool children’s perceptions of food and their food experiences.J Nutr Educ Behav. 2002; 34: 85-92
- Evaluating health and safety knowledge of preschoolers: assessing their early start to being health smart.J Pediatr Health Care. 2000; 14: 160-165
- Physical activity and nutrition knowledge and preferences in kindergarten children.Int J Sports Med. 2007; 28: 887-890
- Not as easy as pie: disentangling the theoretical and applied components of children’s health knowledge.Appetite. 2011; 56: 265-268
- Game to assess nutrition concepts of preschool children.J Am Diet Assoc. 1998; 98: 1168-1171
- Developing a computer-assisted health knowledge quiz for preschool children.J Sch Health. 1999; 69: 9-11
- Big, strong and healthy: young children’s identification of food and drink that contribute to healthy growth.Appetite. 2013; 71: 163-170
- Effects of a nutrition program on knowledge of preschool children.J Nutr Educ. 1985; 17: 88-92
- A comparison of two teaching strategies on nutrition knowledge, attitudes and food behavior of preschool children.J Nutr Educ. 1990; 22: 117-123
- The development of scales to measure knowledge and preference for diet and physical-activity behaviour in 4-year old to 8-year old children.J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1991; 12: 185-190
- Role of food and nutrition in the health perceptions of young children.J Am Diet Assoc. 1992; 92: 67-72
- Preschoolers can distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods: the All 4 Kids study.J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013; 46: 127-130
- Preschool children’s healthy life attitudes in Greece.Health Sci J. 2007; 1: 1-13
- Evaluation of a pictorial method to assess liking of familiar fruits and vegetables among preschool children.Appetite. 2014; 75: 11-20
- Review and analysis of evaluation measures used in nutrition education intervention research.J Nutr Educ Behav. 2002; 34: 2-25
- Using picture identification for research with preschool children.J Sch Health. 1998; 68: 227-230
- Evaluation and design of nutrition knowledge measures.J Nutr Educ. 2000; 32: 269-277
- Psychosocial measures used to assess the effectiveness of school-based nutrition education programs: review and analysis of self-report instruments for children 8-12 year olds.J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013; 45: 392-403
- The measurement and conceptualization of nutrition knowledge.J Nutr Educ. 1992; 24: 239-246
- Measurement and Evaluation of Health Education.3rd ed. CC Thomas, Springfield, IL1989
Published online: May 11, 2015
Accepted: March 26, 2015
Conflict of Interest Disclosure: The authors’ conflict of interest disclosures can be found online with this article on www.jneb.org.
© 2015 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.