Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Georgia C. Lauritzen


Georgia C. Lauritzen


Rodney J. Brown


Deloy G. Hendricks


Carol T. Windham


LeGrande C. Ellis


Byron R. Burnham


This study was conducted to determine the impact of nutrition edu cation on participants of the Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). The specific objectives were to: 1) determine the impact of participation in EFNEP on iron status as assessed by hematocrit (hct) and ferritin levels; 2) determine the effect of nutrition knowledge on hct and ferritin values; and 3) determine the effect dietary behavior has on hct and ferritin levels for both WIC and EFNEP participants.

Each study participant completed a 24-hour dietary recall record plus food frequency record, medical history, validated nutrition knowledge test, and finger stick blood sample prior to program enrollment or nutrition education, and again six months later. There were 42 WIC, 26 EFNEP, 23 WIC-control, and 23 EFNEP-control participants.

Paired t-tests were used to find differences between preprogram and postprogram evaluation scores for the variables of nutrition knowledge score, hematocrit level, ferritin level, and levels of several nutrients. Nutrition knowledge test scores increased significantly from preprogram to postprogram for both WIC and EFNEP participants (14.2 ± 3.27 to 15.5 ± 2.89 for WIC, 14.2 ± 3.77 to 15.6 ± 2.79 for EFNEP). EFNEP participants also increased significantly in hct levels (38.5% ± 3.78 to 40.7% ± 2.13). Hematocrit levels did not change significantly for the WIC or control groups and nutrition knowledge did not increase for the control group between preprogram and postprogram evaluations.

Mean intakes of vitamin A, vitamin c, calcium, and protein were above the RDA at preprogram and postprogram evaluations, yet the percentage of individual participants who consumed less than 67% of the RDA in this study was higher than in the continuing survey of Food Intake of Individuals - 1985. Improvement in nutrient intake at postprogram evaluations was encouraging.

Regression analysis indicated that nutrition education classes in college, income level, and level of formal education each had a positive effect on nutrient intake and nutrition knowledge.