Date

April 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Institution

Oregon Health & Science University

Abstract

Background: A number of nutrition interventions have been conducted in recent years to improve the diets of children in the United States. However, few studies have been conducted analyzing the efficacy of these interventions. In particular, it is unknown how a relatively low-cost single-session intervention might influence the factors that determine the diets of children. Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to determine if 4th-6th graders who completed the nutrition screener and read the nutrition handout at the “Let’s Get Healthy!” fair in Union County, Oregon increased questionnaire scores significantly more than participants who attended the fair but did not both complete the nutrition screener and read the nutrition handout. The questionnaires measured personal, environmental, and behavior factors that determine and mediate dietary behavior, as outlined by the Social Cognitive Theory. Secondary aims were to determine if 4th-6th grade females improved questionnaire scores significantly more than males after completing the diet screener and reading the nutrition handout at the “Let’s Get Healthy!” fair in Union County, Oregon and to determine if age is significantly associated with a change in questionnaire score. Method: In this study, participants visited the Oregon Health & Science University’s “Let’s Get Healthy!” fair in Union County, Oregon. At the fair, participants completed a diet screener that informed them of their estimated intakes of various foods. They marked their screener results on a nutrition handout, which also contained information about why and how they could change their diets. Evaluative pre-fair and post-fair nutrition questionnaires were administered to the students two weeks before and after the fair. The effectiveness of the intervention on changing determinants and mediators of behavior was analyzed through a comparison of participants’ pre-fair and post-fair questionnaire scores. Results: Participants who completed the full intervention did not have significantly greater improvements in scores than participants who attended the fair only. Females also did not have significantly greater improvements in scores than males nor did scores differ by age. Students who reported teacher discussion of the fair had significant improvements in total questionnaire scores and construct sub-scores measuring dietary intention, dietary preference, social reinforcement, and self-efficacy. There was no significant improvement in scores among students who reported no teacher discussion. Conclusions: This study found that a single-session nutrition intervention in the context of a health fair has the potential to positively change the personal, environmental, and behavioral factors that determine and mediate the dietary behaviors of 4th-6th grade students, particularly if teachers participate in discussion of the fair experience. The study did not show that tailored feedback in the form of computerized diet screener and nutrition handout was a more effective means of changing factors that determine diets of children than simply attending a single-session health fair. This study also did not confirm that girls improve scores more than boys nor that change in scores was higher among older children. Future research is needed to determine what methods are most successful in changing factors that determine and mediate children’s nutrition-related behaviors.

Identifier

doi:10.6083/M43X84N8

Division

Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition

School

School of Medicine

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