Mental Health-Focused Nutrition Education Intervention in Secondary School
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AbstractMany high schools in the US have insufficient nutrition education programs to inspire behavior change, resulting in a nutrition knowledge deficit in adolescents. School-based nutrition education programs typically do not cover the association between nutrition and mental health. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to evaluate the change in nutrition knowledge and behaviors of secondary school students following a nutrition education intervention. Students enrolled in their required health course received a two 80-minute session nutrition education intervention. Student nutrition knowledge and behavior changes were assessed in the intervention group (n=56) and a previous needs assessment control group (n=8) using a nutrition knowledge survey and food frequency questionnaire. Compared to the needs assessment group, the intervention group had improved nutrition knowledge test scores (28% vs. 68%, p=0.000). Nutrition knowledge test scores among the intervention group was correlated with confidence in reading food labels (r=.351, p<0.001) and choosing healthy foods (r=.453, p<0.001), but was not correlated with confidence in macronutrient (r=.183, p>0.05) or micronutrient knowledge (r=.167, p>0.05). The intervention group reported low intake of breakfast, vegetables, fruit, and simple carbohydrates. This study did support the effectiveness of inclusion of mental health in a nutrition education intervention to improve nutrition knowledge and behaviors.
CitationKelley, L.G., Parker, J., and Riddle, E. (2022). Mental Health-Focused Nutrition Education Intervention in Secondary School. Project for Completion of MS in Nutrition and Dietetics. SUNY Oneonta.
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