Evaluating nutrition education programs: A look at cultural relevance and educator perceptions

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2008-01-01
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Esters, Onikia
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Mary Jane Oakland
Deland Myers
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Effective nutrition education can decrease the incidence of diet-related chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. African Americans bear a disproportionately higher incidence and prevalence of diet –related chronic diseases. African Americans also have a higher attrition rate in research studies. Evaluating effectiveness, retention rates, educator perceptions of nutrition programs, and the perceived need for culturally relevant strategies for African Americans within nutrition education interventions are important aspects for developing acceptable and appropriate interventions to increase positive outcomes for African American participants.

Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted as part of a community needs assessment to determine the perceived needs of an African American community to develop appropriate programming. Using the same community, surveys were distributed to African American participants to assess the perceived need for culturally relevant strategies the African American community. Lastly, focus groups and individual interviews were conducted in this community to assess the implementation of culturally relevant strategies to increase African American participation in Iowa State University Extension programming. Focus groups and individual interviews were also conducted to determine educator perceptions of the use of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in a multi–state study for low income young adults. Data from a multi–state study to increase fruit and vegetable consumption was further analyzed to determine similarities and differences between African American and White participants to predict the characteristics of participant retention. Qualitative data was analyzed using NSR, and quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS, version 15.

Themes from the focus groups and survey indicate that culturally relevant strategies are preferred among African American participants. The educators indicated that the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change was a useful tool in providing nutrition education materials via the telephone. Similarities and differences between retained African American and White participants and within African American participants were determined. Future studies should examine preferential differences in receiving culturally relevant nutrition education strategies.

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Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2008