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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Community health advisors' perceptions of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid

Authors
item Zoellner, Jamie - UNIV OF SO MISSISSIPPI
item Bounds, Wendy - UNIV OF SO MISSISSIPPI
item Connell, Carol - UNIV OF SO MISSISSIPPI

Submitted to: Journal of Extension
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 27, 2008
Publication Date: April 1, 2009
Citation: Zoellner, J., Bounds, W., Connell, C. 2009. Community health advisors' perceptions of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid. Journal of Extension. 47(2): 1-10.

Interpretive Summary: The United States Department of Agriculture recently released the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in January of 2005, along with a revised Food Guidance System, better known as MyPyramid, in April of 2005. However, no known published research exists regarding the public's awareness and knowledge of these new recommendations. The purpose of this research was to explore Community Health Advisors' (CHAs) awareness, knowledge, and views of the 2005 DG and MyPyramid. One-hundred six CHAs living in Alabama and Mississippi completed a 33-item questionnaire. These CHAs were primarily African American women. Although most respondents indicated they were aware that the Government had announced new DG, few could correctly identify the MyPyramid graphic. When asked to rate their knowledge of the DG, most rated their knowledge as average. The actual knowledge scores were on average 3.4 correct responses out of a possible 10. Most respondents strongly agreed they would like to know more about the DG and more should be done in their communities to raise awareness of the DG. Television was ranked as the top method to promote nutrition recommendations; magazines and the Internet were ranked lowest. Although the ability of CHAs to identify the MyPyramid graphic and nutrition knowledge scores were poor, interests in learning about the 2005 DG were high. More intense efforts and appropriate communication channels, including the television, are needed to promote the 2005 DG and MyPyramid among underserved, hard-to-reach communities in Alabama and Mississippi.

Technical Abstract: Abstract Objectives: To describe Community Health Advisors' (CHAs) awareness, knowledge, and perceptions of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2005 DG) and MyPyramid. Methods & Subjects: A 33-item self-administered questionnaire was completed by 106 CHAs residing in Alabama and Mississippi. These CHAs were primarily African American (98%) women (90%). Statistical Analysis: Frequencies, percents, means, standard deviations and Spearman correlation tests were used to evaluate responses. Results/Discussion: Although 75 (71%) respondents indicated they were aware that the Government had announced new DG, only 16 (15%) were able to correctly identify the MyPyramid graphic. When asked to rate their knowledge of the DG on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1=poor to 5=very good, the average response was 2.8 (SD+1.2). The actual knowledge score was on average 3.4 (SD+1.6) out of a possible 10. There was a significant correlation (r=.30) between perceived and actual knowledge of the 2005 DG (p=.002). Most respondents strongly agreed they would like to know more about the DG (86%) and more should be done in their communities to raise awareness of the DG (81%). Television was ranked as the top communication method to promote nutrition recommendations; magazines and the Internet were ranked lowest. Conclusions: The ability of CHAs to identify the MyPyramid graphic and nutrition knowledge scores were poor; however, interests in learning about the 2005 DG were high. Application: More intense efforts and appropriate communication channels, including the television, are needed to promote the 2005 DG and MyPyramid among underserved, hard-to-reach communities in Alabama and Mississippi.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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