Behaviorally oriented nutrition education and children’s healthy eating choices



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

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Kansas State University


Purpose: Dietary habits are established in childhood and are often maintained into adulthood. Fruit and vegetable consumption contributes to prevention of several chronic diseases, but many children do not meet dietary guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake. In this study, two versions of a theoretically informed, behaviorally oriented nutrition education program were evaluated. Methods: This study used a quasi-experimental design, conducted at a summer camp in northwestern Russia. Data were collected on boys and girls (n=40), aged 8-12y (mean=10.4; SD= 1.0) with mean BMI percentile of 56.7 (SD=26.7), assigned to receive 15 sessions of enhanced nutrition education with skill-training (intervention) or classic nutrition education (comparison); both nutrition education programs were based on Social Cognitive Theory. For the intervention condition, an additional skill-training component included healthy snack preparation activities and games. Data were obtained through previously published questionnaire items and from a menu for snack selection. Independent and paired t-tests were performed to assess differences between groups and across time, respectively. Alpha was set at p < 0.05. Results: Both groups showed statistically significant differences from baseline to post-intervention in nutrition knowledge (p<0.001), healthy eating attitudes towards fruit and vegetable consumption (p=0.001), and healthy eating behavior (snack selection) (p<0.001). No statistically significant differences between time points were found, however, for children’s self-efficacy to eat fruits (p=0.822) or vegetables (p=0.118). There were no differences between intervention and comparison groups for change in nutrition knowledge (p>0.05), attitudes, self-efficacy, or behavior (snack selection).
Conclusion: In this study nutrition education, with or without skill training, was associated with improved knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in a Russian camp setting. Therefore, future research should examine the long-term sustainability within different school-aged children’s environments.



Nutrition education, Children, Camp-based

Graduation Month



Master of Public Health


Human Nutrition

Major Professor

Richard R. Rosenkranz