Foods and Nutrition
Didactic Program in Dietetics
The Food for Kids (FFK) website was created as a novel tool for children to compare differences for total calories, total fat, sugar and dietary fiber in foods. The feasibility of using the tool was tested in 7-11 year old children (n=25). FFK is a visual display using Dust and Magnet (DnM) technology, which "pulls" food towards the constituent (in this case total calories, total fat, sugar and dietary fiber) each in one corner of a square by the foods concentration of these items. This pilot study tested participant’s abilities to distinguish between foods characteristics as either "healthy" or "less healthy" based on FFK. The objectives for this study were (1) teaching comparative nutrition, (2) assessing FFK’s user friendliness and comprehension and (3) observing the potential change of food choices before and after the intervention.
Snacks were served buffet-style and children’s selection was recorded at baseline and after the intervention (at study day three). A 10- to 15-minute teaching session was provided to highlight the importance of total calories, total fat, sugar and dietary fiber in the diet. Following the teaching session, children were given access to FFK on three separate occasions for up to 30 minutes, allowing children to look up foods at leisure and explore the site. At the conclusion of the study participants were asked to rate the effectiveness and usability of FFK. Time spent on FFK and changes in snack food choices were measured and analyzed. A generalized linear model was used to test the effects of sex, age, and study day number on the time spent using FFK. A mixed effects model was used to test the effects of sex, age, and study day number on the proportion of healthy foods selected. A regression analysis was also used to test the
relationship of the total number of foods selected and the difference in "healthy" and "less healthy" foods selected. Statistical significant at P<0.05.
One hundred percent of participants indicated the ability to identify a snack as "healthy" or "less healthy;" 88% reported to completely understand how to use FFK and 12% partially understood the website. Controlling for child’s age and study day, males spent significantly more time on the website than the females (p-value 0.0223). Males spent 22.43 minutes versus 18.19 minutes for females. There was no significant difference between the average proportion of healthy foods selected due to gender, age or study day number.
Food for Kids is a novel learning tool that is a feasible method to teach comparative nutrition to children between the ages of 7 and 11 years old. There was no significant difference between the average proportion of healthy foods selected before and after intervention. For future studies, participants suggested that a spell-check function be added to FFK.
Krohn, Alexandra, "FOODS FOR KIDS: A WEB-BASED INTERVENTION PILOT STUDY" (2014). College of Health and Human Sciences Honors Program Undergraduate Theses. Paper 9.