Impact of nutrition education on whole grains consumption amongst primary and middle school children in Delhi

Rao, E., S., Yadav, R., Rizwana, Lalmuanpuia, C., . . . Meena, P. M. (2022). Impact of Nutrition Education on Whole Grains Consumption amongst Primary and Middle School Children in Delhi. Food Science and Technology, 10(2), 23 – 33. doi: 10.13189/fst.2022.100202

 

Abstract:

Imparting nutrition education in schools is an effective tool for inculcating healthy eating behavior in early childhood, which will bestow lifelong positive health implications. Ignorance, illiteracy, lack of nutrition knowledge, and inappropriate nutritional practices and dietary traditions influence the nutritional status of children. This study assesses the existing knowledge, attitude, and practices prevalent amongst the school children (6-14 years) in the consumption of whole grains and examines the impact of nutritional intervention on them. 22% of participants were from primary school in the age group of 6-10 years, and 78% were from middle school between the ages of 11-14 years. Total percentage of girl students was 84% against boys, which was 16%. Nutrition education was imparted to the school children through visual presentation on the importance of consuming whole grains, structure and composition of whole grains, difference between refined and whole grains, food sources, nutritional importance, rich sources of dietary and soluble fibre, besides promoting digestive health and wellness. Self-designed fun nutrition games and food quizzes were employed to engage with the school students. In the pre-assessment survey, the middle school students showed significantly (p≤0.05) higher knowledge than primary school students. Although after implementing the nutrition education program in the post-assessment survey, an increase in knowledge about whole grains was observed both in primary as well as middle school students. However, no significant difference was seen in the knowledge acquisition between male and female students in pre or post-nutrition intervention assessment. The present study showed an incremental rise in the knowledge and attitude of primary and secondary school children in the age group of 6-14 years in all aspects of whole-grain education. Therefore, this intervention showed that in order to bridge the gap of nutrition literacy among school-going children, integrating nutrition education into the school curriculum can be an effective tool for inculcating healthy eating behavior in early childhood.