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Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Kinesiology
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore public awareness and knowledge of gluten and the Gluten-Free Diet (GFD) with the intent to discover a difference between knowledge of gluten and related topics, and willingness to engage in the GFD fad. Methods: A Qualtrics survey was distributed to students at James Madison University. Answers to an educational quiz were used to calculate an overall score, which were divided into tertiles identified as Low Knowledge (LK), Moderate Knowledge (MK), and High Knowledge (HK). Tertiles were compared against the question, “Have you considered using a gluten-free diet?” Results: Data was analyzed using IBM SPSS version 19. There were 501 respondents and a response rate of 2.3%. Most respondents were female (n=408, 81.4%), mean age 20.3±1.7. The mean overall score on the quiz portion of the survey was 11.2±2.2 out of 19 points (M=11, range 4-17). The LK group was 36.1% of the sample (n=181, 8.9±1.3, M=9, range 4-10). The MK group was 36.7% of the sample (n=184, 11.5±0.5, M=11, range 11-12). The HK group was 27.1% of the sample (n=136, 13.8±2.2, M=14, range 13-17). Overall, most respondents indicated that they have not considered using a GFD (65.5%). Of the people who said “no”, 43.5% were in the LK group. Of the people who said “yes”, 40.9% of people were in the HK group. In the LK group, 20.8% responded that they would try a GFD while 79.2% responded that they would not try a GFD. For the MK group, 35% responded that they would try a GFD while 65% responded that they would not try a GFD. For the HK group, 52.2% responded that they would try a GFD while 47.8% responded that they would not try a GFD. Conclusion: The more knowledgeable a respondent had, the more likely they considered trying a GFD. The opposite was also found for less-knowledgeable respondents. The current diet fad has important implications for the willingness of the population to engage in such fads when there may be limited knowledge concerning the risk for nutrient deficiencies and impaired performance. Individuals should consult with their physician before adopting a diet without including the proper substitutions to achieve nutrient balance.
Bissinger, Jessica Grace, "Knowledge and understanding of gluten and the gluten-free diet by students at James Madison University" (2012). Masters Theses. 151.