T Nation

Help with Survey Questions

As part of a college research project, I’m in the process of examining how effective diet/nutrition and exercise/physical activity related courses in high school settings are in actually effecting positive changes in students’ knowledge and behavior in terms of these key components of a healthy lifestyle. To study this, I plan to administer a survey of 10-15 questions to a group of 50 freshmen and then to a group of 50 seniors, and then compare the differences in their knowledge as measured by the survey. Right now, I’m designing the survey and including concepts that I believe to be the essentials for anyone who is about to enter the real world. I would love your imput as to what EVERYONE should know about diet and exercise. I’m attempting to avoid controversial issues such as ideal macronutrient ratios, whether ephedra will kill you (we know it won’t), etc. For example, one question that I’ll be asking is “How many calories do proteins, carbohydrates, and fats each yield per gram?” (multiple choices). I would really appreciate any suggestions everyone has about potential questions. Just look at it as a way to enlighten a few more souls now so that you don’t have to shell out extra cash for Medicare to pay for all the drugs they need because they’re so obese! Sample topics include: fluid consumption, general diet and exercise questions, and common stereotypes/myths. Thanks for your help.

Eric: I would agree with keeping it simple. I would suggest a couple of “basic” areas:


1)Simply: What ARE carbs, fat and protein, and what do they provide for our bodies?


2)I think that the “Diet and Exercise True/False” questions are always cool when you see them in the mags or online (e.g. Too much protein can lead to kidney damage; fat should be eliminated from the diet as much as possible when attempting to lose weight; don’t lift weights when trying to lose weight…that will only make you bulky; light weights with a LOT of cardio is the best way to lose weight; high carb diets are the best way to lose weight; women should train MUCH differently from men in order to reach their fitness goals…


Those kinds of things in a “True/False” format are always VERY telling. Good luck on your reasearch! Keep us updated!

Here is a few that I run into all the time. 1)If it’s nonfat it’s ok? 2)All fat is bad for you? 3)Will weightlifting cause women to bulk up? 4)If it’s organic, it’s healthy? 5) Eating high amounts of protein will cause kidney damage 6)Will cardiovascular exercise make me strong? 7)Won’t you just pee out all the vitamins that you take in? That’s just some of the thoughts about topics and myths that get screwed up by a lot of people. I’ll try to think of some others and keep my ears open as I talk to people about diet/exercise.

  1. Will serious weights cause women to gain 150lbs of solid muscle & grow hair on their backs overnight? & not that soft downy stuff some girls have right above their butts, but a thick coarse mop that could be braided 2. Why do people think that some supplement will solve all their problems when it’s not fucking around that will get them results?

Here’s one: True or False: All the basics of proper nutrition can be found on the OUTSIDE aisles of grocery stores. Answer: True. (think about that one for a moment).

If you were to embark on a plan to lose excess bodyfat, you would: A) Begin 30 to 40-minute cardio sessions 4-5 days a week only. B) Visit your local weight-loss clinic and sign up with their 90-day Guarantee Fat Loss Program. C) Begin both weight training and cardio, 4-5 days a week, along with a sensible dietary plan.

I work in a University and I see first hand what "nutrition" means to many college students: Big Gulps and the three Corndogs for a Buck for breakfast. With this in mind, make sure you also have questions regarding nutrition and a low-budget.

Question 1.) How many calories does a pound of fat yield…?

Question 2.) If a person expends 700 more calories per day than they take in, how long will it take to lose a pound of fat...?

Question 3.) If the average person burns off 2500 calories in one day, and it takes a deficit 3500 calories to burn off a pound of fat, then how in the hell can they lose 12 lbs in 3 days on the Hollywood Diet...?

Question 4.) Is a calorie a calorie? Ok, I'll explain... If Cedric consumes 4000 calories of Low-Carb Grow and his brother Charles consumes 4000 calories of marshmallow pies, will those calories be distributed equally by the body...?

Question 5.) If one has little or no muscle to begin with, then "what in the name of all that's holy" do they ever expect to sculpt at their beloved body-sculpting class...?!

Two more:

The best exercise routine for women is: A)Cardio and exercises that stress the lower body only occasionally. B)Cardio only. C)There is no such thing as "gender" related routines.

If a woman were to consume a high amount of protein and also performed a heavy weight training routine, one of the following could occur: A)She would develop hugely disproportionate musculature. B)She would gain mostly fat from the excess protein and from not performing any cardio. C) Depending upon her level of athletism, she would not see "huge" muscle growth. But possibly increased LBM and a drop in BF%.

True or False:

  1. When a body builder stops lifting weights, all of their muscle turns directly into fat.
  2. Weight training should be done on an empty stomach.
  3. Saturated fats are better for us than mono-unsaturated fats.
  4. There is no such thing as too much exercise/too little food.

might be interesting to analyze the response variations between males and females as well …

Thanks for all the great responses, everyone. I’ve been swamped with work over the past few days, so this is the first time I’ve had a chance to check the results of my original post. Jackpot! Jason- great minds must think alike, because I already had the “All fats are bad for you.” true/false written word for word! Thanks to all, and keep 'em coming!

Your “all of the basics can be found on the on the outer aisles of a grocery store” question really got me thinking. I’d say 99% correct, and I plan on using that one in conversation! However, I came up with a few possible bodybuilding exceptions: oatmeal, tuna, beans, peanut butter (depending on the store), peanuts, olive oil, canned salmon, pasta (for those carb tolerant bastards!), frozen veggies (admittedly, a stretch), green tea, whole wheat flour, spices, and maybe bottled water. Maybe not all necessities, but the important thing is that you got me thinking!

Well, the survey idea is going to yield the expected results: Either you’ll find out that they are basically ignorant (because they don’t care), or you’ll get the standard media BS lines (because I’m sure the teachers don’t read T-mag). If you want to see how effective the classes are, that’s one thing. If you want to see if they’re teaching correct information, I’m sure you’ll find the answer to be a resounding “NO”.

Kewl. Where I came up with that one was when I was a Fitness Trainer. I would very often get clients who had absolutely NO IDEA how to shop (grocery store) for produce or anything that wasn’t prepackaged. THis was my way of trying to introduce this “whole new world” to them. In alot of cases it worked and made them think, as well. Soon after telling them this, they would always show up to a session all excited about discovering they liked blood oranges or mangoes. Yes, it’s sad - but ALOT of people ONLY shop in them inside aisles. Exceptions are times when they may need milk or meat.

You know you are hurting the feelings of fat people with this. The NAAFA will get you…

Anyhow - here are some questions:

  1. According to the 'Dietary Guidelines for Americans' what are the caloric needs for an average adult:
    a) 1000 kcal
    b) 2200 kcal
    c) 4000 kcal
  2. How many kcal does a Big Mac Meal have (Big Mac, med. fries, lg. soft drink)
    a) 500 kcal
    b) 800 kcal
    c) 1300 kcal
And how about 'what is better to get a smaller waist - the 'Ab Doer' or 'Tony Little's Gazelle'?