Battling the bulge in adolescents


Students learn healthy eating habits with computer-based teaching

According to the Center for Disease Control, 9 million young people in America are overweight, making the need to promote nutrition and health a public priority. Teaching children about healthy eating habits is an important part of student health education in public schools. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, technology-based teaching was more effective in increasing adolescent development of self-efficacy for healthy eating.

"Our findings are important in understanding how to help adolescents develop lifelong healthy eating habits," states author, Dr. JoAnn Long. The study reviewed two curricula, a traditional and an intervention, as they were implemented in separate junior high schools. Results showed that students responded significantly better to computer-based teaching involving interactive, exploratory, and fun modules, versus conventional delivery of nutritional information embedded in health, science and home economics courses. The popularity of technology-based activities, like video games and internet use, was key in appealing to the social and developmental preferences of the youth in this study.

After one month of instruction, questionnaires were administered to assess dietary knowledge, actual decision-making in eating habits and the potential for sustained positive eating behavior. Participants in the web-based intervention group had "higher self-efficacy for healthy eating, more dietary knowledge and healthier usual food choice scores than did those in the comparison group."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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