A nutrition education program for promoting healthy beverage consumption in high school students
The rise of unhealthy beverage consumption, such as soft drinks, in children and youth for the last 25 years has increased the risk of low bone mass density by replacing milk (a major source of calcium intake), compromised dental health, and possibly contributed obesity. A school-based nutrition education intervention was developed to promote a change in this behavior. This study examined the effectiveness of this nutrition education program, called FUEL (Fluids Used Effectively in Living), in promoting healthy beverage consumption among high school students. The FUEL nutrition education manual consisted of six classroom sessions; it was delivered in four classes of grade nine students using different approaches, either multiple or single strategies. The nutrition intervention used multiple teaching methods which included six lessons delivered as visual, group interaction, tactile, individual, and auditory teaching styles. The multiple strategies approach was delivered through peer educators (led by a dietitian) in one class and dietitian-only in another class. In the single strategy approach, also called self-taught, two classes received only the handouts in the FUEL manual. This latter approach was considered the control to the nutrition intervention. The two classes that received either peer education or self-taught approach were in two high schools in Saskatoon. The two classes with either dietitian-taught or self-taught approaches were in a high school in Prince Albert. The beverage intake, knowledge, and attitude of students were assessed by a self-administered questionnaire before the intervention, a week after the intervention, and three months after the intervention. In Saskatoon only, a one year follow-up beverage intake assessment was performed. None of the schools in the FUEL study provided healthy beverage choices for the students. Generally, students in our study consumed an adequate amount of milk, but they drank sugary beverages daily. There was a tendency to replace milk and 100% fruit juices with sugary drinks. After the intervention, students in multiple teaching strategies decreased their sugary beverage intake significantly. The findings indicated that a school-based nutrition education with multiple teaching strategies may lead to positive knowledge, attitude and behavioural change which will have beneficial effect on long-term health.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorWhiting, Susan J.
CommitteePushor, Debbie; Paterson, Phyllis G.; Humbert, Louise M.; Henry, Carol J.; Dobson, Roy T.
Copyright DateAugust 2005
soft drink intake
peer educator approach
multiple teaching strategy
nutrition education for adolescents