Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Jay D. Schvaneveldt


Jay D. Schvaneveldt


The primary intent of this study was to ascertain the effectiveness of parents in the role of teaching nutrition to their children. This research endeavor was an extension of refinement of a three-year program in nutrition education in the Department of Family and Human Development at Utah State University. Fifty-seven children enrolled in the Child Development Laboratory at Utah State, and their parents were involved in the study. Eighteen children were taught nutrition by their mothers. Twenty-one children were taught nutrition by their mothers and fathers, and 18 children served as the control group and received no nutrition using an eight-week curriculum based on the concept of nutrient density, which compares nutrient content of food to calorie content. Food Profile Cards, a visual representation of this concept, were the main teaching tools.

Involving parents in a nutrition education program proved an effective means of teaching children about nutrition. This was shown by a significant increase in children's nutrition knowledge. Parents knowledge of nutrition also significantly increased as a result of their involvement in teaching nutrition to their children. A significant increase in good nutrition practices was also noted. When results were compared by treatment given, the children taught by mothers and fathers made significantly greater gains in acquiring nutrition knowledge than those taught by a single parent (mother only group). In relation to the program of the previous year, children taught by mothers, and children taught by mothers and fathers scored a significantly higher on the nutrition knowledge tests than children involved in the parent-taught program of the previous year.1 Children taught by mothers and fathers made even greater gains in nutrition knowledge scores than the children taught in the classroom last year.