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Development and evaluation of a bilingual nutrition education computer program for Latino children


Interactive computer technology and multi-media have advanced in the past ten years as growing opportunities for nutrition education. Few nutrition education computer programs exist for school-aged children, particularly for Latinos. The overarching purpose of this research was to develop a computer nutrition program for low-income Mexican American children in Colorado. This research project spans all levels of software development -with formative evaluation , product development, and evaluation. Development of the CD-ROM program was driven by several theoretical models and results from the formative evaluation . The formative evaluation included focus groups with children and surveys with classroom teachers and media teachers in order to determine preferences for computer programs, particularly in classroom settings. We also sought to address dietary acculturation in the program. Food frequency questionnaires and acculturation scales were administered to children in largely Hispanic areas of Colorado. Several foods were found to be sensitive to change with increasing acculturation -- such as posole, corn tortillas, fresh corn , mangoes, Mexican cream, and beans - and sensitive to adoption . The final computer program contained a total of six components -- including educational modules, games, songs, and infomercials -- focusing on the Food Guide Pyramid and related topics. Foods included in the program were representative of different levels of acculturation (as determined by the dietary acculturation study) . Online evaluation was used to measure gains in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior intentions, as well as dietary choices. The program was implemented in a total of four schools -- two intervention schools and two matched control schools -- in southern Colorado. The computer nutrition education program proved to be highly effective in improving knowledge about the Food Guide Pyramid. The intervention group's knowledge of the Food Guide Pyramid increased by over 50% and was considered significantly higher than the control group at the p<.01 level. Self-efficacy related to using the Food Guide Pyramid to plan meals and snacks also increased significantly. Our findings demonstrated that games and songs were effective in strengthening knowledge about nutrition and the Food Guide Pyramid, regardless of acculturation level. Online data about dietary patterns confirmed findings from the preliminary dietary acculturation study.


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Hispanic American children -- Nutrition -- Colorado -- Computer-assisted instruction
Hispanic American children -- Nutrition
Computer-assisted instruction
Hispanic American children
Hispanic American students -- Nutrition -- Colorado -- Computer-assisted instruction
Hispanic American students
Nutrition -- Colorado -- Computer-assisted instruction
Interactive multimedia -- Design
Interactive multimedia


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