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Nutrition-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Dietary Behaviors among Head Start Teachers in Texas: A Cross-Sectional Study
- Sharma, Shreela, Dortch, Katherine Skala, Byrd-Williams, Courtney, Truxillio, Jeanette B., Rahman, Gulshan A., Bonsu, Pamela, Hoelscher, Deanna
- Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2013 v.113 no.4 pp. 558-562
- French fries, attitudes and opinions, children, cross-sectional studies, dietary surveys, fried meat, nutrition education, nutrition information, nutrition knowledge, overweight, students, teachers, vegetables, Texas
- Head Start teachers are responsible for providing nutrition education to over 1 million low-income children annually, yet little is known about their nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. The purpose of this study is to assess the self-reported nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among Head Start teachers from one urban Head Start organization in Harris County, TX. A cross-sectional, descriptive analysis was conducted using baseline surveys in the 2008-2009 school year. One hundred eighty-one Head Start teachers completed self-reported surveys of their nutrition knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, weight status, and other weight-related behaviors. The sample was predominantly female (97%) and minority (93%); 24% were overweight and 55% were obese. One fourth of the sample did not consume fruit (26%) or vegetables (23%) the previous day. Half of the teachers reported consuming french fries (52%) and soda (44%), and one fourth consumed fried meat (28%) at least once on the previous day. Only four teachers (3%) answered at least four of the five nutrition knowledge questions correctly. Half of the teachers (54%) agreed that it was hard to know which nutrition information to believe, and only 9% reported that their nutrition habits were healthy. A majority of teachers were trying to lose weight (71%) and said they would like to weigh less (81%). This study underscores the importance of providing nutrition education and wellness opportunities to Head Start teachers to better enable them to teach nutrition education to their students and to improve their own health.