Increased nutrition knowledge is related to better eating behavior. However, internationally, there are few reliable and validated tools to measure the nutrition knowledge of children, and a tool aimed at Australian children is lacking entirely.
Developing a valid and reliable tool that can be used by practitioners and researchers to assess children's level of nutrition knowledge.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
A team of nutrition and education experts developed a nutrition knowledge survey for Australian children aged 8-12 years, based on an existing and validated Belgian survey. The questions were translated and adapted to confirm with Australian culture and governmental recommendations. It consists of 8 nutrition-related categories: ‘healthy choices’, ‘portion and serve sizes’, ‘balanced meals’, ‘nutrition labels’, ‘nutrient functions’ and food- ‘sources’, ‘safety’ and ‘categories’. Year 5 and 6 students (n = 94, age = 10.9, SD = 0.76) at a primary school in Newcastle, Australia were recruited and completed the nutrition knowledge survey twice, with one week in between. The questionnaire was filled out online, using an Android tablet. Teachers were asked not to teach any nutrition between the measurements.
Item analysis showed varied item difficulty and discrimination. The interrater reliability per item between T0 and T1, was moderate to substantial for the majority of the items (mean κ = 0.50, SD = 0.21). Test retests showed a significant correlation for the total score (r = .756) and all categories except ‘Portion and serve sizes’ (‘healthy choices’ [r = .616], ‘balanced meals’ [r = .585], ‘nutrition labels’ [r = .595], ‘nutrient functions’ [r = .582] and food- ‘sources’ [r = .455], ‘safety’ [r = .502] and ‘categories’ [r = .825]).
The CNK-AU was found to be a practical and reliable tool for measuring Australian children's nutrition knowledge. The tool may be useful in future work to determine the effectiveness of educational interventions and can be adapted to other cultures.