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Chapter 17

Principles of Nutrition Education


Lecture Launcher
Consumers are bombarded daily with dozens of health messages. Think of as many health messages as
you can. Why are the ones that you identified the ones you remembered? What qualities or circumstances
made them particularly memorable to you?

Chapter Outline
I.

Introduction
A. Nutrition education is an instructional method that promotes healthy behaviors by imparting
information that individuals can use to make informed decisions about food, dietary habits, and
health.
B. The successful nutrition message has a favorable impact on the target audience and gets them to:
1. Examine their belief system.
2. Evaluate the consequences of a certain behavior.
3. Change their behavior.

II. Applying Educational Principles to Program Design


An effective nutrition intervention program will integrate good instructional design and learning
principles and use media that facilitate a high degree of individualization.
A. The effect of an intervention on the target populations knowledge and behavior depends on the
interventions application of six basic educational principles:
1. Consonance is the fit between program and its objectives.
2. Relevance is the degree to which the intervention is geared to clients.
3. Individualization allows clients to have personal questions answered or instructions paced
according to individual learning progress.
4. Feedback helps clients learn by providing a measuring stick to determine how much progress
they are making.
5. Reinforcement is designed to reward the desired behavior.
6. Facilitation includes measures taken to accomplish desired actions or eliminate obstacles.
B. Learning across the Life Span. People of any age learn best if:
They have the prerequisite knowledge.
Content is broken into small pieces.
They have an opportunity to practice what they have learned.
The content seems relevant.
1.

Adult Learners
a. Adult education is the process whereby adults learn and achieve changes in knowledge,
attitudes, values, and skills.

IM for Community Nutrition in Action 4e, by Melanie Burns of Eastern Illinois University

b.

For adults, learning is an intentional, purposeful activity and adult learners approach
learning differently than children do because they have different motivations for learning.
c. Characteristics of adult learners include the following:
1. They learn best when subject matter is directly tied to their own realm of experience.
2. Their learning is facilitated when they can make connections between their past
experiences and their current concerns.
3. They are motivated to learn by the relevance of the topic to their lives.
4. They retain new information best when they are actively involved in problem-solving
exercises and hands-on learning.
d. An effective program takes into account the learning styles and motivations of the target
population.
e. The following recommendations apply to adult learners:
1. Make learning problem-centered.
2. Make information concrete and define all abstract terms.
3. Make learning collaborative between the educator and the learner.
4. Encourage participatory approaches to learning.
5. Ask open-ended questions to draw out what adults already know about the topic.
6. Seize the teachable moments which are life transitions.
7. Increase the adult learners sense of self-worth by validating their experiences.
8. Establish a positive learning environment.
9. Recognize individual and cultural differences because they affect learning styles.
f. Target groups should be researched by:
1. Reviewing the literature.
2. Conducting formative research.
3. Asking representatives from the audience to help you with the planning and
development of the program.
C. Developing a Nutrition Education Plan
1. The nutrition education plan outlines the strategy for disseminating the interventions keys
messages to the target population.
a. They key nutrition messages may be designed to change consumer behavior, as in the 5
a Day for Better Health message to Eat five to stay alive.
b. The nutrition education plan is a written document that includes the following:
1. Needs of the target population.
2. Goals and objectives for intervention activities.
3. Program format.
4. Lesson plans.
5. Nutrition messages to be imparted to the target population.
6. Marketing plan.
7. Any partnerships that will support program development or delivery.
8. Evaluation instruments.
c. A nutrition education plan is developed for each intervention target group.
d. At the systemic level, the nutritional education plan might properly be called a strategy.
2.

Developing Lesson Plans

IM for Community Nutrition in Action 4e, by Melanie Burns of Eastern Illinois University

a.

b.

c.

The first step in developing a lesson plan is to know your target audience, the setting, and
the content.
Consider these principles when developing lesson plans:
Focus on the learner and their interests, needs, and motivations.
Relate learning to real-life situations and give examples that relate directly to the
learners lives and experiences.
Actively involve the learners in the learning process because people learn best by
doing.
Structuring Your Knowledge
1. The first component of lesson writing is to identify the major concept you are
communicating.
2. Three questions to ask yourself before creating a lesson plan include:
a. What is the telling question what am I trying to teach?
b. What are they key concepts?
c. What methods of inquiry are used what teaching method will I use?
Writing Instructional Objectives. Useful lesson plans are based on effective
instructional objectives which should:
1. Concentrate on the learner and not the teacher.
2. Clearly communicate a specific instructional intent.
3. Be stated in terms of the end-product and not in terms of the process of learning.
4. Describe one type of learning outcome per objective that is specific in describing the
learners performance.
Components of a Lesson Plan
1. Components of a lesson plan include objectives, body of the lesson, activities, and
evaluation.
2. Here is a common format used to structure lesson plans:
a. Lesson title.
b. Target audience.
c. Duration.
d. General objectives or the goal for the class.
e. Specific objectives that identify the expected learning outcomes using measurable
statements.
f. Procedures which include the following:
1. The introduction describes how the instructor will introduce the class.
2. The body of the lesson contains the background and the lesson organization
scheme.
3. Closure includes a summary of the lesson.
g. Learning experiences or activities.
h. Method of evaluation which describes how the instructor will evaluate whether
or not the expected outcomes have been achieved.
i. Materials needed.

III. Nutrition Education to Reduce CHD Risk: Case Study 1


The Heartworks for Women program is a health promotion activity designed to help women
reduce their CHD risk.

IM for Community Nutrition in Action 4e, by Melanie Burns of Eastern Illinois University

The senior manager responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating the intervention
decides to organize intervention activities into two areas, smoking and nutrition, and each area is
assigned to a different team.
The manager designates a leader for each team and the following information shows how the
program was developed.

A. Heartworks for Women Program: Assessing Participants Needs. The community nutritionist
first identifies the target populations educational needs by reviewing the data obtained during
the community needs assessment and by conducting formative evaluation research.
1. Set Goals and Objectives. The next step is to develop goals and objectives for the program
and to use these to sketch a rough outline of the program sessions.
2. Specify the Program Format. The nutritionist now chooses a format for the program that
suits the topic and the amount of information that must be presented.
a. The program will consist of 90-minute sessions in which participants will set target
dietary goals, try new behaviors, and assess their successes.
b. The key strategy will be to seek small behavioral changes.
3. Develop Lesson Plans
a. The nutritionist now considers the instructional method and chooses to present the
material in group sessions, knowing that participants can learn from one another.
b. She must also decide whether to use existing educational materials or whether to design
her own.
4. Specify the Nutrition Messages. In the next step, nutrition messages are specified for each
lesson plan.
a. Messages should convey a simple, easy-to-understand concept related to the topic.
b. An example of a message would be to Choose lean cuts of meat.
5. Choose Program Identifiers. The nutritionist chooses program identifiers such as the
program name, logo, an action figure, or a tag line, which give the program its own identity.
6. Develop a Marketing Plan. The nutritionist develops a marketing plan to promote the
program to the target population.
7. Specify Partnerships. The nutritionist establishes a partnership with a local grocery store
chain to use one of its stores as the setting for one session on shopping for low-fat foods and
reading labels.
8. Conduct Formative Evaluation. The nutritionist designs a formative evaluation to be
conducted throughout the program design process and examples include:
a. Focus group sessions to test the dietary messages and program instructional materials.
b. Testing the print materials for reading grade level.
c. Results of the formative evaluation are used to change and improve program delivery.
IV. Designing Nutrition and Health Messages
A. General Ideas for Designing Messages
1. Studies of consumer behavior suggest several ways of designing nutrition messages to grab
consumers attention.
a. Present information in a novel or unusual fashion.
b. Use language that says to the consumer Listen to this. Its important.
c. Use language that is immediate.

IM for Community Nutrition in Action 4e, by Melanie Burns of Eastern Illinois University

2.

3.

4.

5.

d. Design messages that use verbs in the present tense and demonstratives such as this,
these and here.
e. Avoid using qualifiers such as perhaps, may, and maybe that express uncertainty.
f. Use straightforward statements rather than tentative statements.
The Its All About You campaign was designed to promote positive, simple, and consistent
messages to help consumers achieve healthy, active lifestyles.
a. The campaign is a product of the Dietary Guidelines Alliance which is a consortium of
professional organizations, trade organizations, and the federal government agencies.
b. The messages developed by the Alliance were derived from focus group discussions with
consumers and a summary of their opinions on effective communications, which
included the following:
1. Give it to me straight means to use simple, straightforward language and not
technical or scientific jargon.
2. Make it simple and fun and provide practical, easy-to- implement strategies.
3. Explain whats in it for me means to make the benefits of healthy lifestyles clear.
4. Stop changing your minds means to be consistent in making recommendations.
5. Offer choices means that consumers want to be empowered.
Implementing the Program
a. After the program has been designed and tested, it is ready for implementation.
b. The goal at this phase is to deliver the program as faithfully as possible.
c. Keep a record of any unexpected problems so that a strategy for preventing them can be
developed for future programs.
Enhancing Program Participation
a. The higher the level of participation in a program the better.
b. Ways to improve participation rates include:
1. Understand the target populations needs and interests.
2. Use evaluation research to improve the program design.
3. Remove barriers to participation.
4. Find ways to help participants see the immediate benefits of participating.
5. Schedule the activity at a convenient time.
6. Use incentives for participating.
7. Build ownership of the program among participants by using slogans, action figures,
and logos to enhance the programs identity.
Conducting Summative Evaluation
a. Summative evaluation provides information about the effectiveness of the program and it
is conducted at the end of the program.
b. Summative evaluation seeks to obtain data about the participants reactions to all aspects
of the program:
1. Topics covered.
2. Instructors or presenters.
3. Instructional materials.
4. Program activities.
5. Physical arrangements for the program.
6. Advertising and promotion.
7. Registration procedures.

IM for Community Nutrition in Action 4e, by Melanie Burns of Eastern Illinois University

B. Entrepreneurship in Nutrition Education


1. Creativity and innovation can be applied to many aspects of nutrition education, from the
development of action figures to the use of new communications media such as the Internet.
2. One approach to motivating consumers and helping them change their behavior is to design
effective nutrition messages and programs.

IM for Community Nutrition in Action 4e, by Melanie Burns of Eastern Illinois University