Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Parham, Ellen S.||Johnston, Betty Jane

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Home Economics


Sugar; Food habits


The purpose of this study was to investigate sugar usage, including the relationship between attitudes, knowledge and practices, high and low consumption of sugar, as well as the nature of the interrelationships of attitude, knowledge, practice and use variables. The relationship between different demographic groups and sugar consumption was also explored. The sugar-eating behavior of the subjects and their attitudes and knowledge toward sugar could lead to a better understanding of the reasons behind American sugar consumption habits and a better insight into the difficulties of eating less sugar. One hundred and fourteen of 200 randomly sampled Northern Illinois University Civil Service employees responded to a mail questionnaire surveying sugar use, practices, attitudes, and knowledge. Significant correlations were found between sugar attitudes and practices, sugar knowledge and practices, sugar attitudes and knowledge, and sugar attitudes and actual sugar use. The correlation between sugar knowledge and actual sugar use was not found to be significant. It was observed that significant differences in sugar attitudes and practices existed between high and low users of sugar, while no significant difference was found in their sugar knowledge. Observations made on what aspects of sugar consumption significantly differed between high and low users revealed five statements on the questionnaire which pertained to a limiting or careful use of sugar, as opposed to other aspects of sugar consumption habits. It appears that low sugar users differ from high sugar users by a conscious, purposeful limiting of their sugar consumption. The only reason identified in this study for limiting sugar consumption was the concern about watching one's weight, although various other reasons may exist which were not determined in this study. No significant difference in sugar attitudes, knowledge, practices, and use were observed among any of the demographic groups except sex, where males and females were found to differ significantly in their attitudes, knowledge and practices. This study did not attempt to investigate the reasons behind these differences. Males and females, however, were not found to differ significantly in their actual sugar consumption. It appears that the desire for sweets comprises a physiological as well as a psychological need, making the possibility of limiting sugar consumption difficult. As supported by this study and in numerous other places, by concentrating on improving people's attitudes toward nutrition, nutritionists may have one way of influencing nutrition knowledge and practices, resulting in improved dietary behavior. In this case, the improved dietary behavior would be a reduction in sugar consumption. More research in this field is indicated and it is hoped that this study may stimulate the interest of other workers.


Includes bibliographical references.


iv, 85 pages




Northern Illinois University

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