Project Title

Determining the Validity and Reliability of a Preschool Nutrition Knowledge, Beliefs, and Behaviors Scale through a 6 Week Nutrition Intervention

Authors' Affiliations

Lindsey Webb, Department of Rehabilitative Science, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN Dr. Michelle Johnson, Department of Rehabilitative Science, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Location

Clinch Mtn

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

163

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Other - please list

Rehabilitative Science

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Michelle Johnson

Type

Poster: Non-Competitive

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Project's Category

Early Childhood Education, Education or Instructional Programs

Abstract Text

Enrollment of preschool aged children in childcare centers has risen drastically in the last few decades, and continues to rise. This presents a great opportunity for childcare providers to administer nutrition information to children during this optimal learning phase of their life, because information learned during this phase will influence a child’s behaviors and beliefs towards food for the rest of their life. Even with this opportunity, research has shown that many facilities are not including nutrition information in their curriculum. Barriers are often cost, training, and staffing. This understanding led to piloting this nutrition intervention using the age-appropriate USDA MyPlate eBooks. The aim of this research was to improve nutrition knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors in preschool-aged children, while further evaluating the validity and reliability of a scale designed by Johnson and Malkus to measure these constructs. Twenty-five preschool-aged children from two community childcare facilities were enrolled in the study. A pretest assessing performance on nutrition-related tasks was administered using the scale via iPad technology. During the intervention, this researcher read one new story each week for 6-weeks from the USDA’s Team Nutrition MyPlate eBook series. Topics included Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy, Protein, and A MyPlate meal. The same assessment was administered post-intervention. Scores for individual subscales and a total score were tallied for each child. Data was analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics 25. Paired-samples t tests were conducted to determine if the intervention in this sample of preschoolers improved their performance on measures of nutrition knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors. The results indicated that mean scores on the food identification subscale (M= 6.12, SD = .83) were significantly greater post-intervention than pre-intervention (M = 5.12, SD = 1.3), t(24) = 5.22, p < .001. Mean scores on the food group categorization subscale (M= 10.96, SD = 2.5) were significantly greater post-intervention than pre-intervention (M = 8.88, SD = 2.4), t(24) = 4.278, p < .01. Mean scores on the total scale (M = 59.84, SD = 7.15) were significantly greater post-intervention than pre-intervention (M = 55.4, SD = 7.06), t(24) = 3.145, p < .01. Knowledge about the health of foods does not always predict behavior. It was not surprising that in this age group, mean scores on the behavior subscale were not significantly improved by the intervention; pre (M= 11.44, SD 2.70), post (M= 11.32, SD 3.10), t(24) = -0.166, p = 2.58. These results foster the theory that nutrition knowledge in preschool-aged children can be positively influenced with clear and age-appropriate education. It was also clear that affecting behavior is more difficult. When offered less healthy, but tasty, preferred foods, young children are less likely to choose healthy options. This further supports the understanding that the responsibility of adults is to provide healthy foods to children. Future research will include pre-post testing without intervention and comparison of results.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Determining the Validity and Reliability of a Preschool Nutrition Knowledge, Beliefs, and Behaviors Scale through a 6 Week Nutrition Intervention

Clinch Mtn

Enrollment of preschool aged children in childcare centers has risen drastically in the last few decades, and continues to rise. This presents a great opportunity for childcare providers to administer nutrition information to children during this optimal learning phase of their life, because information learned during this phase will influence a child’s behaviors and beliefs towards food for the rest of their life. Even with this opportunity, research has shown that many facilities are not including nutrition information in their curriculum. Barriers are often cost, training, and staffing. This understanding led to piloting this nutrition intervention using the age-appropriate USDA MyPlate eBooks. The aim of this research was to improve nutrition knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors in preschool-aged children, while further evaluating the validity and reliability of a scale designed by Johnson and Malkus to measure these constructs. Twenty-five preschool-aged children from two community childcare facilities were enrolled in the study. A pretest assessing performance on nutrition-related tasks was administered using the scale via iPad technology. During the intervention, this researcher read one new story each week for 6-weeks from the USDA’s Team Nutrition MyPlate eBook series. Topics included Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy, Protein, and A MyPlate meal. The same assessment was administered post-intervention. Scores for individual subscales and a total score were tallied for each child. Data was analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics 25. Paired-samples t tests were conducted to determine if the intervention in this sample of preschoolers improved their performance on measures of nutrition knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors. The results indicated that mean scores on the food identification subscale (M= 6.12, SD = .83) were significantly greater post-intervention than pre-intervention (M = 5.12, SD = 1.3), t(24) = 5.22, p < .001. Mean scores on the food group categorization subscale (M= 10.96, SD = 2.5) were significantly greater post-intervention than pre-intervention (M = 8.88, SD = 2.4), t(24) = 4.278, p < .01. Mean scores on the total scale (M = 59.84, SD = 7.15) were significantly greater post-intervention than pre-intervention (M = 55.4, SD = 7.06), t(24) = 3.145, p < .01. Knowledge about the health of foods does not always predict behavior. It was not surprising that in this age group, mean scores on the behavior subscale were not significantly improved by the intervention; pre (M= 11.44, SD 2.70), post (M= 11.32, SD 3.10), t(24) = -0.166, p = 2.58. These results foster the theory that nutrition knowledge in preschool-aged children can be positively influenced with clear and age-appropriate education. It was also clear that affecting behavior is more difficult. When offered less healthy, but tasty, preferred foods, young children are less likely to choose healthy options. This further supports the understanding that the responsibility of adults is to provide healthy foods to children. Future research will include pre-post testing without intervention and comparison of results.