Using computer technology to deliver nutrition education to low-income populations
Susan Martin Gould, Colorado State University, United States
Colorado State University . Awarded
Computer technology provides creative methods to deliver accurate and consistent nutrition education to food assistance participants. A pictorial version of the Colorado WIC Program Allowable Foods List was created using scanning and desk-top publishing techniques. Formative evaluation provided feedback regarding content and design. Based on results of a final evaluation, the pictorial version was preferred by potential WIC clients, grocery store checkers, and WIC staff surveyed.
Building upon these scanning techniques, two units of La Cocina Saludable, "Make It Healthy" and "Make A Change," were adapted to a bilingual interactive multimedia (IMM) program and evaluated. The program was delivered via touch screen computers to participants of food and other assistance programs. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to assess the knowledge gains and reported behavior changes among participants who completed La Cocina Saludable with a computer and those who completed it with an abuela. Significant knowledge gains (p $<$ 0.05) occurred with both methods of delivery. Those who received "Make It Healthy" with the abuela, however, had significantly more gains (p $<$ 0.05) for that unit's outcome than those who used the computer. No significant differences were seen between the abuela and IMM groups when comparing within the "Make A Change" unit. A few differences were reported for fat and salt behaviors. IMM provides an opportunity to expose more participants to accurate and consistent nutrition education messages and learning activities. Use of a combination of IMM and nutrition educator methods may be an important consideration to optimize gains.
Gould, S.M. Using computer technology to deliver nutrition education to low-income populations. Ph.D. thesis, Colorado State University.
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