Ayten Aylin Alsaffar

Ayten Aylin Alsaffar

Ozyegin University, Turkey

Title: Demographic variation in nutrition knowledge in a Turkish community sample


Ayten Aylin Alsaffar is currently a full-time Assistant Professor teaching on the Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Program at Özyeğin University, Turkey. After receiving her BSci. Degree from Food Engineering Department at Ege University, Turkey, she continued her studies in the same department and gained her MSci. degree in the Nutrition division. She completed her PhD in Food Sciences at Nottingham University, UK. Her main interests are structural and nutritional changes in macromolecules after food processing, novel food technologies, food chemistry and nutrition education.


Objective: To explore the level of general nutrition knowledge within a Turkish community sample using a general nutrition knowledge questionnaire (GNKQ) and examine the effects of demographic variation in knowledge. Design: A total of 385 employees of a university in Istanbul participated in the study by completing the modified, translated and validated form of GNKQ by Parmenter and Wardle (1999). Setting: Participants completed the written questionnaires in their own time, without any supervision. Subjects: Employees aged 18 and over. Results: Significant differences in knowledge between demographic groups were found, with the middle aged group (35 to 50 years) having better knowledge than both the younger and the older group and people with a university or post-graduate degree performing much better than people completing primary or high school (p<0.05). No difference was found between the knowledge levels of males and females. The mean general knowledge score was found as 46%. Conclusions: Even if the majority of the group (75%) had a university degree or above, there were serious gaps in knowledge even on daily recommendations. Possible reasons of lack of knowledge in such a well-educated group were discussed along with the recent public health nutrition efforts (such as health campaigns and nutrition education interventions) in Turkey.