Date of Award

Spring 3-29-2004

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Donna DeGracia

Second Advisor

Dawn B. Ludwig


Background Diets of adolescents in the United States are not meeting the Food Pyramid guidelines, especially for fruits, vegetables, and dairy, yet they are far exceeding the recommended daily allowance for fat and added sugars. Even though adolescents possess nutritional knowledge, they are often choosing foods based on their taste, rather than their nutritional value. This study aimed to explore the relationship between nutritional knowledge and food choices in seventh grade students. It also evaluated the relationship gender had on nutrition knowledge and food choices. Method Nutritional knowledge and food choices were studied in two seventh grade health classes at Sandburg Middle School in Golden Valley, MN. The students completed a two part survey; one part to assess nutritional knowledge and one part to assess food choices. The students also indicated their gender on the survey Results Forty-three students completed the survey. The median score for the nutrition knowledge questionnaire was 18.33 out of a possible 24. An increase in nutrition knowledge was associated with a decrease in vegetable servings eaten at lunch (r -0.306, p=0.046). No other correlations were found between nutrition knowledge and fruits, dairy, or junk foods. There was also no correlation found between gender and food choices or nutrition knowledge. Conclusion Seventh grade students possess adequate nutrition knowledge but are not making food choices at lunch based on this knowledge. Schools need to offer healthier, more appealing food options and less junk foods to encourage adolescents to eat a more balanced diet.


SC 11.PAS.2004.Rysavy.J