Effects of Educational Methods on Eating Habits among Primary School Girls in Al-Salama District, Jeddah

Dr. Wafaa Dakhel Al-Ahmadi

Joint Program Family & Community Medicine, Jeddah – 2014

Background:Overweight and obesity are considered serious health problems facing children worldwide, the imbalance between energy intake and its expenditure, represented by unbalanced diets together with sedentary life style are responsible of gaining weight. Despite of its serious consequences, few researches were conducted to prevent it, therefore, the current study aimed at promoting dietary habits among school children.

Objectives:To test effectiveness of different nutritional education methods in improving the knowledge and attitude of school children towards healthy dietary habits.

Material and subjects: Through planned intervention design, 98 primary school girls were selected randomly from three schools, they were divided into three groups, and each received different health education method, either video alone, booklets alone or a combination of both. Two questionnaires; one for students and the other for parents were used for assessment of the educational programs. Paired t test and McNemar’ test were used to test significance of change after intervention.

Main results:Among all participating students, the average knowledge score increased significantly from 47.8±14.4 before intervention up to 71.3±17.9 after intervention, the significant increase was observed within the three groups (Video alone, booklets alone, combination of both). Nevertheless the magnitude of difference was higher among students exposed to the combined method, as the percentage of knowledgeable students increased from 14.3% up to 80%. The significant increase in percentage of knowledgeable students was observed regardless of differences in parental characteristics. Although there was an observed increase in the attitude score from 48.8±17.9 up to 51.6± 15.8, however, this difference was not statistically significant.

Conclusion and recommendations: The educational nutritional program, using multiple approaches, such as booklets and videos, were effective in improving knowledge of the students in school based sessions about healthy dietary habits; nevertheless, it has little effect on improving their attitude about the healthy dietary habits. It is recommended that this educational program be distributed and implemented in primary schools as it achieved the first step in changing an attitude which is changing the knowledge first.

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