Mediterranean Diet Adherence in the Southeast United States: Validation of a Field-Based Survey Instrument and the Impact of Nutrition Knowledge
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management
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The Mediterranean diet (MD) has been shown to reduce chronic disease risk, and nutrition knowledge has been shown to correlate with diet choices. However, Mediterranean diet adherence in the southeast United States is lacking. The present studies aimed to: 1) develop and validate a survey instrument to assess nutrition knowledge of the MD and 2) determine to what extent nutrition knowledge is associated with MD adherence. A MD Nutrition Knowledge (MDNK) questionnaire was developed using previously validated instruments to parallel the short validated MD Adherence Screener (MEDAS). The survey tool was validated in a student population then distributed to an adult population in east Alabama. A significant positive linear relationship was observed between MDNK and MEDAS scores (p=0.001). Together the MDNK and MEDAS questionnaires are effective tools for assessing baseline knowledge and adherence and can be used for targeted clinical interventions to increase knowledge adherence for disease prevention and management.