Title

An Analysis of Adolescents’ Nutrition Knowledge and Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables: Examining the Influences of Race/Ethnicity, Access to Healthy Foods and Exposure to a Nutrition Education Curriculum

Document Type

Presentation

Publication Date

4-2-2015

Comments

Advisor:

A Crawford, Jefferson School of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.

Abstract

The development of obesity in youth involves a complex set of factors from multiple contexts that interact with each other to shape behavior. The purpose of this study was to assess the influences of race/ethnicity, food access, and a nutrition curriculum on content knowledge and fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption in seventh grade students from the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). A secondary data analysis was conducted using student responses to pre- and post-surveys from SDP’s quasi-experimental study of the Choice, Control, & Change (C3) curriculum, as well as food access data for geographic areas in Philadelphia. Results show that C3 did not have an impact on content knowledge or FV consumption, demonstrated by non-significant differences between the intervention and comparison groups at post-survey. There were significant differences between racial/ethnic groups in changes in knowledge over time, as it increased for Black and Hispanic students but decreased for Whites. Regarding FV consumption, Hispanic and White students showed little change over time, while Black students reported a decline. This indicates that while Black students may gain knowledge from nutrition education, they have trouble translating it into healthy eating behaviors. Results also revealed that corner stores, known for selling cheap, energy-dense snacks, are the most prevalent type of food retailer in Philadelphia. These findings suggest that obesogenic food environments surrounding schools may compromise school-based nutrition interventions and limit their potential effects on students’ dietary behaviors. In addition, a significant interaction effect was observed between race/ethnicity and food access on changes in content knowledge over time. In low-access areas, this outcome increased for Black and Hispanic students and decreased for Whites, while groups in high-access areas showed little change. Recommendations include adding food access components to school-based interventions and implementing policies that increase the selection and affordability of healthy foods in corner stores.

Presentation: 23 minutes