Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 5, 2001
Publication Date: September 1, 2001
Technical Abstract: For nutrition education to be effective, it should be delivered by methods and strategies preferred by the target audience. This study used a qualitative research approach to identify the method preferences of limited income African American youth as part of an intervention planning process. Focus groups consisted of 42 youth aged 10-14(21M, 21F). Children were grouped by age and gender. Trained moderators conducted the sessions using a prepared question schedule including six topic areas. These sessions were audiotaped with a trained assistant taking written notes. Data analysis included: a)debriefing of moderator and assistant immediately following each session; b)transcription of audiotapes; c)content analysis of transcripts. The traditional methods reported most frequently as having been used to teach nutrition to youth in the past were formal presentations by teachers, informal education by parents and relatives, and use of the arts (play and songs). Computer games were a preferred method for both males and females. Males described tasting parties and use of cartoon characters such as Rugrats as preferred education approaches and females liked cooking experiences. Videos, use of blackboard, overhead projector, printed materials and writing exercises were described as unappealing or boring. Girls expressed more interest in and enthusiasm for nutrition education than boys. Effective nutrition education for this audience of preteens and young teens should incorporate interactive learning approaches and may need to use different methods for boys and girls. (Supported by USDA-Agricultural Research Service).