Level of nutrition knowledge and its association with fat consumption among college students

Najat Yahia, Carrie A. Brown, Melyssa Rapley, Mei Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Background: Intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol has been associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease. The aim of this study was to explore whether increased nutrition knowledge is associated with a reduction in the consumption of unhealthy fats in a sample of university students. Methods: A sample of 231 students, with a mean age of 20 years, was recruited from university campus during spring 2012. Students completed a validated questionnaire related to students' demographic, nutrition knowledge, and daily fat consumption. Weight, height, and waist circumference were measured. Data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA, chi-square, and student's t-test. Results: Results indicate that female students have greater nutrition knowledge than male students (the mean nutrition score for women was 5 points higher than that of men (P = 0.01)). Nutrition knowledge was negatively correlated with fat and cholesterol intake. Students who consumed more than 35 % calories from fat or >300 mg of cholesterol daily had lower mean nutrition scores than those students with lower fat or cholesterol intake (8 points lower and 7.9 points lower, respectively). Using linear regression for nutrition scores on estimated saturated fat intake and cholesterol intake (controlling for gender, height, weight, age, and dieting), nutrition scores were negatively associated with saturated fat intake (-0.15, P <0.0001) and cholesterol intake (-1.38, P <0.0001). Conclusion: Students with greater nutritional knowledge consumed less unhealthy fats and cholesterol. This finding magnifies the role of nutrition education as a potential tool in health campaigns to promote healthy eating patterns among college students. Results of this pilot study can inform the design of future nutrition education intervention studies to assess the efficacy of nutrition knowledge on pattern of fat consumption among college students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1047
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 4 2016


  • Fat consumption
  • Nutrition education
  • Nutritional knowledge
  • University students


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