Nutrition education needs of Iowa public health nurses providing health-related services to low-income elderly

Hans, Carol
Major Professor
Alyce M. Fanslow
Committee Member
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Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

The purposes of the study were to: (1) assess the needs of Iowa public health nurses in food and nutrition subject matter appropriate for use with low-income elderly, and (2) make recommendations for a nutrition continuing education training program for the public health nurses who provide health-related nutrition services to the low-income elderly in Iowa Well Elderly Screening Clinics;Nutrition education needs were assessed by a criterion-referenced test that included the content areas of nutrition in aging, principles of food safety, food label interpretations, and selection of nutritious food bargains. Information on demographic and educational variables was collected. A total of 134 public health nurses from 84 Iowa counties responded to the criterion-referenced test. The sample was composed of two groups: county nurse administrators and Well Elderly Screening Clinic nurses;Percentage-correct scores were computed for each of the four content areas; a standard of performance was arbitrarily set at 80 percent correct. A single classification analysis of variance was calculated to determine if there was a significant difference between the mean scores of the two groups;Test analysis revealed the average score for the achievement test to be 51.5 percent. Response to Nutrition in Aging concepts at 57 percent was highest, followed by Food Label Interpretation at 50 percent, and Selection of Nutritious Food at 49 percent. The Food Safety concept score was 47 percent. There was no significant difference between the mean scores of the two groups;None of the respondents achieved the minimal level of competency of 80 percent correct in the needs assessment. Sixteen of the 80 items were answered correctly by at least 80 percent of the respondents; one item was answered correctly by all respondents. Nutrition continuing education is recommended for all concept areas included in the achievement test.