• Journal of Food & Nutritional Sciences
Research Article

Nutrition Education Provided by a Dietetic Intern Improves the Nutrition Knowledge and Behaviors of Mississippi High School Culinary Students

Journal of Food & Nutritional Sciences [2019; 1(3):99-105]
Received: 13 October 2019, Accepted: 03 November 2019, Published: 11 November 2019

Obesity rates in the United States have been on the rise and the state of Mississippi (MS) has the highest rate of obesity in to the nation. Mississippi also has the highest rate of hypertension and cardiovascular disease compared to the rest of the states. Desoto County is located in the northwest part of MS, and has a high rate of obesity among high school students at 18.9%. The factors that contribute to the high rate of obesity include food insecurity, lack of nutrition education and lack of culinary education. Food insecurity involves food deserts where there is not access to fresh fruits, vegetables, farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Most of Desoto County is saturated with fast food restaurants, which then increases health risks. Nutrition education is paramount to improving health outcomes and should include the individuals involved in food preparation. The Desoto County Technology Center High School Culinary Arts program is designed to train future culinary experts. The purpose of designing a nutrition education program is to help the students understand the relationship between foods to create healthier cuisines at their future place of employment, along with an improvement their nutrition behaviors. The goal of the research was to develop a curriculum and outcomes. Evaluation measures which included pre-test and post-test evaluations of general nutrition knowledge and behaviors of culinary students to determine if the education improved nutrition knowledge. The program curriculum was designed by a Dietetic Intern, Abigail Mills, from the University of Memphis Clinical Nutrition Masters/Dietetic Internship Program and was implemented into the DeSoto County Technology Center High School Culinary Arts. A total of 48 students in Culinary I and Culinary II classes were asked to participate in the study. The Dietetic Intern created lessons and activities that were taught throughout the year based on the Mississippi Board of Education competencies. Nutrition knowledge and behaviors of the students were measured by pre-test survey given at the beginning of the year and post-test at the completion of the culinary course. The survey consisted of nutrition background knowledge and nutrition behavior. Once the course concluded, the results were analyzed to determine if there was an overall enhancement of nutrition knowledge and behaviors for these culinary students. The post-test scores were significantly greater than the pre-test scores in each section for both culinary I (p=0.003) and culinary II (p=0.003).

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