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J Allied Health. 2011 Winter;40(4):194-8.

Improving families' nutrition knowledge through service learning.

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Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Central Arkansas, 201 Donaghey Avenue, Conway, AR 72035, USA.


Current research documents an increasing prevalence of pediatric obesity in the United States. Effective nutrition education programs are needed to affect this trend. This study pre-tested and post-tested kindergarten students and their families to evaluate the impact of a service learning nutrition education program. Changes in nutrition knowledge and home environment among kindergarten students and their parents who participated in a nutrition education program (treatment group) were compared with those who did not participate in the program (control group). The nutrition education program was developed and delivered by senior nutrition majors at an accredited 4-year university. Responses from a total of 156 parents and kindergarten children (treatment n = 79, control n = 77) out of 205 total kindergarten families (76% response rate) were analyzed to compare changes in knowledge and home environment. Results indicate an increase in the kindergarten children's knowledge and a decrease in the family's home obesigenic risk. These results provide support for the use of service learning to provide age-appropriate nutrition education programs to benefit the entire family.

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