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Nutrition questionnaire


Related terms
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Related Terms
  • Fitness, food pyramid, nutrition worksheet, nutritionist.

  • Nutrition is a concept that examines the relationship between what a person eats and their health. Nutrition is important because the body gets most of its nutrients from the foods that are eaten. A pattern of eating a healthy balance of foods from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food pyramid helps a person lower the chances of developing long term illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer. Also, people who already have an illness may be able to control some of their symptoms by following good nutritional guidelines. A nutrition questionnaire is a series of questions that helps to determine what a person usually eats.
  • A nutritionist or other healthcare provider may use the questions on a nutrition questionnaire to evaluate the quality of the individual's diet and/or lifestyle. Questions about diet, exercise, and medical history may be included on a health questionnaire. In some cases, a healthcare provider, translator, or family member may read the questionnaire to the patient and ask the patient a series of additional questions. In other cases, the patient may fill out the questionnaire by him or herself or with the help of a family member or translator. Based on this information, the healthcare provider may tell the individual what foods a person should continue to eat and which foods may need to be consumed less often.
  • In recent years, experts have seen an increasingly strong connection between eating foods with good nutrition and remaining healthy. Ideas of what foods are healthy and in what amounts they should be eaten may change. Most recently the FDA created a new revised food pyramid in 2005.
  • Some people may be asked to answer the questions on a nutritional questionnaire when they visit a new doctor. In other cases, people who have been diagnosed with an illness, syndrome, or who have recently become pregnant may fill out a nutritional questionnaire when visiting a nutritionist. A nutritionist is a healthcare professional who helps a person understand what foods should be eaten to stay healthy and which foods should be eaten less frequently. People may visit a nutritionist because of a specific health problem, to determine food allergies, to gain weight, to lose weight, or to make sure they are getting all of the nourishment and vitamins they need for their particular lifestyle.
  • According to The American Dietetic Association (ADA), medical nutrition therapy and lifestyle counseling are integral components of medical treatment for the management of selected conditions. Numerous chronic medical conditions respond to medical nutrition therapy; however, pharmacotherapy may be needed to achieve control. In some cases, medical nutrition therapy and pharmacotherapy may need to be initiated simultaneously. Medical nutrition therapy is critical to the management of a variety of chronic diseases, effective in managing disease, and cost-effective. Strong evidence advocating certain types of medical nutrition therapy lies in the extremely high usage of parenteral and enteral nutritional formulas in many health care settings today. Parenteral feedings may allow people who are not able to consume any food orally to get the nutrients that they need to survive.
  • Promising uses of medical nutrition therapy for the future reside in a vast array of conditions, such as supplying proper nutrients to people with HIV/AIDS and cancer or possibly helping to decrease the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

Theory / Evidence
  • Society may be aware of the impact that diet has on disease prevention, but far fewer people are aware that changes in diet may be able to help speed the recovery process and control diseases. The scope of medical nutrition therapy makes it very challenging to draw any firm conclusions regarding its safety or efficacy, as it may be practiced in a number of ways for a variety of conditions. Nevertheless, this therapy appears relatively safe when used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional and/or dietician.
  • Patients with a variety of medical conditions may benefit from medical nutrition therapy. Conditions and symptoms that have been studied include dry skin, joint pain, indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, hypertension, gestational diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, depression, thyroid disease, food allergies, chronic fatigue, menopausal symptoms, HIV/AIDS, kidney failure, eating disorders, pregnancy, wound healing, psoriasis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and post-surgical therapy.
  • A study by Scherwitz et al. used an 80-item nutrition questionnaire to explore the causes of overeating, excess weight, and obesity and to provide cross-cultural comprehensive treatment approaches. The study included food-related research on global wisdom traditions, cultural traditions, Eastern healing systems, and Western nutritional science. Using this research, the authors presented recurrent themes derived from ways in which cultures regarded, experienced, prepared, and shared food. The resulting questionnaire measured food, nutrition, and eating themes. Further research is needed to assess the degree to which practicing and implementing these eating styles integratively may decrease overeating, excess weight, and obesity.
  • A census survey in New Zealand by Zinn et al. evaluated how rugby team coaches disseminate nutrition information to athletes. The study used a psychometrically validated questionnaire, received by either Internet or standard mail. The questionnaire asked the coaches to answer questions identifying their nutritional advice dissemination practices, their level of nutrition knowledge, and the factors determining this level of knowledge. The study concluded that the rugby coaches in this study were inadequately prepared to impart nutritional advice to athletes and could benefit from further nutritional training.
  • New York City used a nutrition questionnaire to obtain accurate, local-level information on the prevalence of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, according to an article by Thorpe et al. The New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NYC HANES) was designed as a new local surveillance initiative to determine the prevalence of health conditions among adult residents of New York City. Modeled after the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the survey was initiated in June 2004 as a population-based cross-sectional study of New York City adults ages 20 and older. Health conditions examined included cholesterol levels, diabetes status, blood pressure, environmental biomarkers, depression, anxiety, and antibodies to infectious diseases. NYC HANES is the first successful local-level examination survey modeled on NHANES. With periodic repetition, NYC HANES will provide surveillance information on the leading causes of morbidity and mortality.
  • A study in Brazil by Crispim et al. evaluated the educational influence in the relative validation of a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQs) for adults in the city of Vicosa. The results indicate that FFQs showed acceptable performance in evaluating the habitual food consumption for most of the nutrients in the studied population. A tendency for better quantifications in the groups with higher education was observed, inferring its influence in the assessment of dietary intake.


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  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

  1. Crispim SP, Ribeiro RC, Silva MM, et al. The influence of education in the validation process of a food frequency questionnaire for adults in Vicosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Nov;60(11):1311-6.
  2. Scherwitz L, Kesten D. Seven eating styles linked to overeating, overweight, and obesity. Explore (NY). 2005 Sep;1(5):342-59.
  3. Thorpe LE, Gwynn RC, Mandel-Ricci J, et al. Study design and participation rates of the New York city health and nutrition examination survey, 2004. Prev Chronic Dis. 2006 Jul;3(3):A94.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. President's Physical Fitness and Sports Council. .
  5. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) My Pyramid. .
  6. Zinn C, Schofield G, Wall C. Evaluation of sports nutrition knowledge of New Zealand premier club rugby coaches. Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Apr;16(2):214-25.

  • There are many web sites that provide nutrition and health questionnaires and worksheets, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
  • Questionnaires are typically specific to a certain age group and may be made to assess specific illnesses.
  • In answering the nutrition questionnaire, it is important that the patient answer all of the questions honestly and accurately.
  • Health professionals may use these charts to understand and analyze a patient's background and dietary habits.
  • Questions that may be asked include:
  • Are you currently being treated for a medical condition?
  • Are you currently on a special (vegetarian, low-fat, gluten free) diet?
  • Are you taking any medications?
  • Are you taking any vitamin or nutritional supplements?
  • Describe a typical work day. How active are you?
  • Describe changes, if any, that you have made to your eating and/or exercise habits. When did you implement these changes?
  • Do you drink alcoholic beverages?
  • Do you drink caffeine?
  • Do you eat a lot of processed foods?
  • Do you eat breakfast?
  • Do you eat meal replacements or drink supplements?
  • Do you exercise? How often?
  • Do you have a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol?
  • Do you take your time when you're eating?
  • Does your food or weight feel out of control?
  • Do you have food allergies?
  • Have you ever dieted?
  • What is your height? Weight?
  • How often do you drink water?
  • How often do you eat fruits and vegetables?
  • How often do you eat out?
  • How often do you eat?
  • What is the most you have ever weighed as an adult? The least?
  • What do you do when you are stressed?
  • What do you think constitutes healthy eating?
  • Where do you eat most often?
  • Why do you want to see a nutritionist?

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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