Level of Nutrition Knowledge and Its Association with Weight Loss Behaviors Among Low-Income Reproductive-Age Women

Tabassum H. Laz, Mahbubur Rahman, Ali M. Pohlmeier, Abbey B. Berenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


To examine influence of nutrition knowledge on weight loss behaviors among low-income reproductive-age women. We conducted a self-administered cross-sectional survey of health behaviors including socio-demographic characteristics, nutrition knowledge, and weight loss behaviors of 16–40 year old women (n = 1,057) attending reproductive health clinics located in Southeast Texas between July 2010 and February 2011. Multiple linear regression and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify correlates of nutrition knowledge and examine its association with various weight loss behaviors after adjusting for confounders. The mean nutrition knowledge score was low (5.7 ± 2.8) (possible score 0–15). It was significantly lower among African American women than whites (P < .001). Obese women (P = .002), women with high school enrollment/diploma (P = .030), and some college hours/degree (P < .001) had higher nutrition knowledge scores than their counterparts. The higher score of nutrition knowledge was significantly associated with higher odds of engaging in healthy weight loss behaviors: eating less food [odds ratio (OR) 1.12, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.06–1.18], switching to foods with fewer calories (OR 1.10, 95 % CI 1.04–1.16), exercising (OR 1.10, 95 % CI 1.04–1.16), eating more fruits/vegetables/salads (OR 1.11, 95 % CI 1.06–1.17) and less sugar/candy/sweets (OR 1.09, 95 % CI 1.04–1.15). However, it was not associated with unhealthy weight loss behaviors, such as using laxatives/diuretics or inducing vomiting. Nutrition knowledge is low among reproductive-age women. An increase in nutrition knowledge may promote healthy weight loss behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-548
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Healthy weight loss behavior
  • Nutrition knowledge
  • Reproductive-age women
  • Unhealthy weight loss behavior
  • Weight loss behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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