Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Science
Objectives : To assess the effectiveness of a behavior-specific nutrition education intervention (NEI) to promote dietary behavior factors related to fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption.
Methods : A pre-post design was used. The developed and implemented six-week NEI curriculum was informed by the social cognitive theory and comprised of class-based nutrition education (25 minutes once a week), and cooking demonstrations (20 minutes once a week) for children, and weekly nutrition handout for parents. Applying purposive sampling, 115 children (in grade 3rd -5th) were recruited from four elementary schools (where at least 40% of children were eligible to obtain free lunch) in the South Plains of Texas. Assessments included nutrition knowledge, F&V preference, F&V consumption and cooking self-efficacy questionnaires during pre- and post-intervention surveys. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used with level of significance at < 0.05.
Results : Preliminary results show that the study variables (gender, grade, nutritional status, nutrition knowledge, F&V preference, self-efficacy of F&V consumption, and cooking) did not differ significantly during the pre-intervention survey, except for ethnicity (p < 0.001) among the participated elementary schools. Nutrition knowledge score (change mean score 7.61±3.70), F&V preference (change mean score 5.63±10.84), F&V consumption self-efficacy (change mean score 2.16±3.05), and cooking self-efficacy (change mean score 5.34±7.08) improved significantly (p < 0.05) after the intervention. There was no significant school variation in the changes of study parameters after the intervention.
Conclusions : Theory-informed and behavior-specific NEI may improve the children’s knowledge and F&V preference and dietary behavior related to F&V consumption and cooking self-efficacy. Future research is needed to evaluate the retention of the nutrition knowledge and F&V consumption related behavior factors.
Funding Sources : Texas Tech University