University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Though there are many complex factors influencing diet, nutrition knowledge correlates with healthier food choices in older adolescents and can play a pivotal role in health. Nutrition curriculum was addressed in the state of Arkansas through Arkansas Act 1220 of 2003. Numerous changes have been seen in the school environment regarding nutrition, but there is no means of testing nutrition curriculum effectiveness in terms of nutrition knowledge of students. It is the purpose of this descriptive study to improve understanding of the nutrition knowledge of high school seniors. High school senior students (n = 25; males = 12, females = 13) successfully completed a validated Survey to Assess the Knowledge of Conventional and Unconventional Dietary Methods of Weight Control based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. The survey also included demographic questions and items regarding sources of nutrition information. The mean nutrition knowledge score (out of 24) was 8.7 ± 2.8 or 36% (min. score = 4, max. score = 14). There was no significant difference in nutrition knowledge scores based on ethnicity, those on specialized diets, frequency of eating out, physical activity, gender, source of nutrition information, thoughts about food, or for any criteria based categorizing scores by High/Low. Though the study indicates better education is needed, this pilot test should be followed up with a larger sample size to confirm these results.