The demographic variation in nutrition knowledge and relationship with eating attitudes among Chinese university students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

There is a noticeable absence of health education among college students. This study aimed to evaluate the extent of general nutrition knowledge among Chinese university students and explore its association with eating attitudes. Data were collected from a group of 273 students in Spring of 2023, using a valid and reliable research instrument consisting of three sections: demographic variables, the General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (GNKQ), and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26). The results were analyzed using SPSS, with correlations and t-tests to examine the relationships between nutritional knowledge and dietary attitudes. Furthermore, the present study employed the random forest (RF) algorithm, a machine learning technique, utilizing the Mean Decrease Impurity (MDI) method to investigate the influence of various features on participants’ eating attitudes. The findings revealed that Chinese university students had an average accuracy of over 60% in their nutritional knowledge, but their understanding of the relationship between diet and disease still needs improvement. Moreover, male students had significantly lower nutritional knowledge than female students, and there was a positive correlation between nutritional knowledge and parents’ income. The study also found a significant correlation between the level of nutritional knowledge and eating attitudes. RF results indicated that the family income level exhibited the most substantial impact on the eating attitudes of the participants. The study highlights the need for nutrition education curriculum developers to focus more on improving students’ nutritional knowledge, with particular attention given to male students, low-income individuals, and those with an abnormal BMI. Copyright © 2024 by the authors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number159
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume21
Issue number2
Early online dateJan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Citation

Deng, W.-J., Yi, Z., & Lee, J. C.-K. (2024). The demographic variation in nutrition knowledge and relationship with eating attitudes among Chinese university students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 21(2), Article 159. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21020159

Keywords

  • Nutrition knowledge
  • Machine learning
  • Eating attitudes
  • University students
  • China

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