Enhancing Nutrition-Related Literacy, Knowledge and Behavior among University Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 Physiology Research Center, Institute of Basic and Clinical Physiology & Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences. Kerman, Iran

4 Department of Healthy Aging, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Science, Shiraz, Iran

5 Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

Background: Despite the key role of nutrition literacy and behavior in health, evidence suggests a low adherence to healthy nutritional behaviors. We sought to determine the influence of a group-based interactive training program on nutrition-related literacy, knowledge and behavior of students.
Methods: Two-hundred and three undergraduate students were enrolled by multi-stage cluster sampling and were randomly divided into two groups of intervention (n=106) and control (n=97). Four questionnaires measured the demographic variables, nutrition-related literacy, knowledge, and behavior. The educational intervention was performed as workshop using a new educational style. 
Results: There was no significant difference between the two groups regarding demographic variables. After educational intervention, a significant increase was found in the mean scores of nutrition literacy from 22.20±3.85 to 31.95±2.19, nutrition knowledge from 54.23±1.80 to 77.06±7.20, and nutritional behavior from 52.32±16.54 to 67.52±19.69 (P<0.001), but no significant difference was observed in the control group. The correlation coefficients significantly increased (from 0.167 to 0.552). 
Conclusion: Our educational pattern was effective in improving nutritional literacy, knowledge and behavior and is recommended for students in their curriculum.

Keywords