Title page for ETD etd-04242008-141138

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Stratton, Jessica Nicole
URN etd-04242008-141138
Title Examination of Head Start students' and teachers' attitudes and behaviors toward trying new foods as part of a social marketing campaign
Degree Master of Science
Department Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Serrano, Elena L. Committee Chair
Fu, Victoria R. Committee Member
Hosig, Kathryn Wright Committee Member
  • Food Friends
  • Head Start
  • teachers
  • preschool
  • food neophobia
Date of Defense 2008-04-15
Availability unrestricted
Objective: To determine the impact of preschool teacher food-related attitudes and behaviors on child food behaviors.

Design: A twelve-week intervention and observational study with teachers completing

questionnaires before and after the intervention.

Setting: Head Start classrooms throughout Virginia.

Participants: 177 preschool Head Start teachers and 1534 children.

Intervention(s): Food Friends, a twelve-week social marketing campaign, was conducted by Head Start teachers during the Spring 2007, introducing children to novel foods with food puppets, nutrition-related activities and novel food tasting opportunities. Hypotheses related to the impact of preschool teachers’ food-related attitudes and behaviors on children’s food behaviors were tested, and changes in teacher and child food behaviors were measured.

Main Outcome Measures: Teacher food-related attitudes and behaviors were measured/quantified. Child food behaviors were measured and compared to teacher attitudes and behaviors.

Analysis: Descriptive, correlational and t-test statistics were conducted.

Results: Teachers’ and children’s acceptance of novel foods improved after the Food Friends program, however, no direct correlations were found between teacher food-related attitudes and behaviors and child food behaviors.

Conclusions and Implications: Preschool teacher attitudes and behaviors may not significantly impact child food-related behaviors. More research is needed to determine effective ways of encouraging positive child food behaviors.

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