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Public Health Nutr. 2004 Apr;7(2):271-7.

Evaluation of a computer-based nutrition education tool.

Author information

  • Institute of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Austria. kreiselk@web.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of using a computer-based teaching tool (http://www.coolfoodplanet.org) for nutrition and lifestyle education developed for primary school children.

DESIGN:

This was a 2-week school-based intervention in third and fourth grades. The study design was multi-factorial with repeated measures of nutrition knowledge, at three points in time, of dependent samples from control and intervention groups. Control schools (n=7) used 'traditional' nutrition education materials and intervention schools (n=8) additionally used the computer-based educational tool. Qualitative information was collected in focus group discussions with student teachers and pupils, and by observing the nutrition lessons.

SETTING/SUBJECTS:

Pupils aged 8-11 years (n=271) from participating schools in Vienna, Austria.

RESULTS:

Nutrition knowledge increased significantly in both intervention and control schools, irrespective of the teaching tool used (P<0.001). The significant effect was maintained at 3 months' follow-up. There was no detectable difference in nutrition knowledge post intervention or at follow-up between the two study groups. In intervention schools, younger pupils (8-9 years) had better nutrition knowledge than older pupils (10-11 years) (P=0.011).

CONCLUSION:

This computer-based tool increases the possibilities of school-based nutrition education. If the tool's weaknesses identified during the formative evaluation are eliminated, it has the potential to make learning about nutrition more enjoyable, exciting and effective. This is of great importance considering that 'healthy' nutrition is not necessarily a topic that easily attracts pupils' attention and in view of the potential long-term health benefits of early and effective nutrition education.

PMID:
15003134
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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