Nutr Res Pract.  2019 Aug;13(4):352-357. 10.4162/nrp.2019.13.4.352.

The impact of nutrition literacy on the food habits among young adults in Turkey

  • 1Nutrition and Dietetics Department, Besyol Mah. Inonu Cad. No:38, Sefakoy, Kucukcekmece, Istanbul Aydin University, Istanbul, 34295, Turkey.


Youth is the crucial stage between childhood and adulthood during which an individual acquires new behavior and practices including dietary habits, that may be influenced by his peers, social circle, nutrition knowledge level and other factors. The increase in awareness of young adults is of special importance from the perspective of health and prevention of obesity related chronic diseases. To measure the nutrition literacy level of university students using the Turkish version of Adolescent Nutrition Literacy Scale (ANLS). We evaluated their food habits using the Adolescent Food Habit Checklist (AFHC) tool and analysed it, if the eating habits were affected by nutrition literacy level.
A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted on randomly selected 276 students studying in the Faculty of Health Sciences of Istanbul Aydin University, Turkey. Data was collected by means of ANLS and AFHC tools by face to face interview method. SPSS statistical sofware (IBM SPSS Statistics 19) was used to analyse the obtained data.
Participants comprised of 47.1% males and 52.9% females with mean age of 20.0 ± 1.60 years. Mean body mass index (BMI) was determined as 22.4 ± 3.76 (23.6 ± 3.63 males 21.3 ± 3.57 females). Functional, interactive and critical nutritional literacy scores for male participants were 22.49 ± 5.71, 17.45 ± 4.84, and 28.28 ± 7.13 respectively (total 64.98 ± 10.15). For females the values were 24.66 ± 5.13, 20.17 ± 4.28, and 32.20 ± 5.65 (total 69.72 ± 8.59) respectively. For all the three sub-categories of nutrition literacy, the scores acquired by females were significantly higher than males (P < 0.001). In the AFHC tool, the mean score acquired by males were 9.26 ± 4.18 whereas for females it was 10.37 ± 3.40 significantly higher as compared to males (P = 0.007).
The food habits of female participants were better than males; in accordance with their nutrition literacy status. It may be concluded that food habits are influenced by nutrition literacy and therefore stress much be given to increase the nutrition awareness among children youth as well as adults.


Young adults; youth; food habits; obesity; nutrition literacy
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