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J Nutr Educ. 2001 Jan-Feb;33(1):10-6.

Content analysis of the use of fantasy, challenge, and curiosity in school-based nutrition education programs.

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Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University, School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.


The objective of this research was to document the extent to which elements of fantasy, curiosity, and challenge are used in existing nutrition education materials. A content analysis of 30 nutrition education curricula designed for elementary and middle-school grades was conducted. Print curricula, computer software, videotapes, and puppet shows were included in the sample. The use of challenge, curiosity, and fantasy, as defined in the Theory of Intrinsically Motivating Instruction (TIMI), was assessed in each curriculum. Approximately half of the curricula included elements of challenge, curiosity, or fantasy. All of the nonprint curricula and 30% of the print curricula incorporated these characteristics. Curiosity was most frequently used in these curricula, followed by fantasy and then challenge. The TIMI provided a useful theory to examine the instructional approaches frequently used in school-based nutrition education programs. Nutritionists may apply concepts from the TIMI to the design of future curricula so that these programs are interesting and entertaining for their target audience.

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