Objective: A better understanding of the general nutrition knowledge among obese patients (OP) will inform the design of effective weight management education programs. This study assessed general nutrition knowledge in OP seeking treatment and compared this to a community sample (CM) with participants from the healthy weight (HW), overweight (OW) and obese (OB) range.
Methods: Participants were a convenience sample of OP attending a tertiary weight loss clinic and the general community (CM) (aged>34 years). BMI was measured in OP and self-reported in CM. Nutrition knowledge was measured using a validated, General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (GNKQ) assessing four domains: dietary recommendations, sources of nutrients, choosing everyday foods and the diet–disease relationships. The influence of demographic characteristics (age, gender, education) on general nutrition knowledge was also assessed.
Results: A total of 472 participants (OP: 211; CM: 261) were recruited. OP were older (OP:53.0±9.8; CM 49.1±10.0y; p<0.0005) and had a higher BMI (OP: 45.0±9.2; CM: 26.8±6.1 kgm-2; p<0.0005) than CM. BMI distribution in CM was 47.5% HW, 32.2% OW and 20.3% OB. Total GNKQ scores were significantly higher in CM (OP: 65.0±16.9; CM:79.4±12.7%; p<0.005) even after adjustment for demographic characteristics. OP scored significantly lower than CM across all four knowledge domains.
Conclusions and Implications: General nutrition knowledge was lower in OP compared with CM and remained lower after adjustment for demographic characteristics. Nutrition miss-information disseminated via the wider weight loss industry or lower health literacy may explain these findings however, factors influencing general nutrition knowledge in OP warrants further investigation.