University of California

Food behavior checklist effectively evaluates nutrition education


Mary L. Blackburn
Marilyn S. Townsend
Lucia L. Kaiser
Anna C. Martin
Estella A. West
Barbara Turner
Amy B. Joy

Publication Information

Hilgardia 60(1):20-24. DOI:10.3733/ca.v060n01p20. January 2006.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


We developed a short food behavior checklist (FBC) to evaluate the impact of nutrition education on fruit and vegetable intake among ethnically diverse women in the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program (FSNEP) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). To validate the FBC, interviewers collected three 24-hour dietary recalls as well as responses to 11 FBC behavioral questions about fruits and vegetables from 100 English-speaking, low-income women at baseline. A randomly selected subgroup (n = 59) provided a blood sample for analysis of total serum carotenoids at baseline and follow-up. After 6 hours of nutrition education, the treatment group reported significant improvements in three of the seven FBC questions related to fruit and vegetable intake, while no significant changes occurred in the control group. All seven FBC questions were significantly correlated with total serum carotenoids. This short, culturally neutral FBC is a valid and reliable indicator of fruit and vegetable consumption. Compared with the 24-hour dietary recall, it is also less time-consuming to administer, code and analyze, with a reduced respondent burden.


Burney J, Haughton B. EFNEP: A nutrition education program that demonstrates cost-benefit. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002. 102:39-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-8223(02)90014-3 PubMed PMID: 11794500

Del Tredici AM, Joy AB, Omelich JL, Laughlin SG. Evaluation study of the California Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program: 24-hour recall data. J Am Diet Assoc. 1988. 88:185-90. PubMed PMID: 3339205

Institute of Medicine. Dietary, functional, and total fiber. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. 2002. Washington, DC: Nat Acad Pr. pp.7-69.

Joy AB, Lamp CL, West EA, et al. Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program: Successful strategies in California. 2001. Presented at Society for Nutrition Education 2001 Annual Conference in Oakland, CA.

Kagan J. Current Research on Vitamin Trophology.. Vitamin Foundation, 1953. New York: pp.31-5.

Kristal AR, Andrilla HA, Koepsell TD, et al. Dietary assessment instruments are susceptible to intervention-associated response set bias. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998. 98:40-4. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-8223(98)00012-1 PubMed PMID: 9434649

McClelland JW, Palmer Kee, nan D, Lewis J, et al. Review of evaluation tools used to assess the impact of nutrition education on dietary intake and quality, weight management practices, and physical activity of low-income audiences. J Nutr Educ. 2001. 33:535-548.

Murphy SP, Kaiser LL, Townsend MS, Allen LH. Evaluation of validity of items for a food behavior checklist. J Am Diet Assoc. 2001. 101:751-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-8223(01)00189-4 PubMed PMID: 11478471

Nierman LG. A longitudinal study of the retention of foods and nutrition knowledge and practices of participants from Michigan Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. Dissertation 1986. East Lansing, Mich: Michigan State University.

Nunnally JC, Bernstein IH. Psychometric Theory. 1994. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp.251-2.

Thompson FE, Midthune D, Subar AF, et al. Dietary intake estimates in the National Health Interview Survey, 2000: Methodology, results and interpretation. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005. 105:352-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2004.12.032 PubMed PMID: 15746822

Torisky DM, Hertzler AA, Johnson JM, et al. Virginia EFNEP homemakers' dietary improvement in relation to selected family factors. J Nutr Educ. 1989. 21:249-58.

Townsend MS, Kaiser L.L, Allen LH, et al. Selecting items for a food behavior checklist for a limited resource audience. J Nutr Educ. 2003. 35:69-82. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1499-4046(06)60043-2

[USDA] US Department of Agriculture. Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,. 2005. http://www.healthierus.gov/dietary-guidelines .

Wohl MG, Goodhart RS. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 1968. 4th ed. London: Henry Kempton. 216.

Blackburn M, Townsend M, Kaiser L, Martin A, West E, Turner B, Joy A. 2006. Food behavior checklist effectively evaluates nutrition education. Hilgardia 60(1):20-24. DOI:10.3733/ca.v060n01p20
Webmaster Email: sjosterman@ucanr.edu