Date of Award:

1980

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Bonita W. Wyse

Abstract

Adolescents, who have been shown to be at nutritional risk, and having poor nutritional knowledge and sporadic eating habits, are in need of comprehensive, sequential nutrition education. The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and evaluate a nutrition education unit for inclusion in the health education curriculum of secondary schools. The two-week unit which included nutrient density concepts was evaluated in two high schools in Utah.

Data from a mail survey of health educators (n=74) revealed their need for nutrition training and resources, and guidance for integrating nutrition into health classes. High school health teachers were provided with teacher training materials, lesson plans and instructional aids. Four treatment groups (n=92) were exposed to the nutrition unit and two control groups (n=45) received no nutrition information during the test period. All subjects were pre- and post-tested to determine change in knowledge of and attitude toward nutrition, and completed food frequency questionnaires for purposes of measuring behavioral changes.

The treatment groups improved their nutrition test scores by 12 percentage points from pre- to post-test. Students were shown to reliably mark semantic differential scales measuring attitude. Overall attitude toward nutrition improved slightly. The nutrient density concept was mastered by students and proven to be an effective nutrition education tool. Post-food frequency data showed a consistent trend of decreased frequency of almost all food categories for controls as well as treatment groups, illustrating the importance of control groups in nutrition education studies. Participating health teachers positively evaluated the unit and indicated that their nutrition training and resource needs were sufficiently met.

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Nutrition Commons

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