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School Food Environment the Frontline for Childhood Obesity Prevention - A Mixed-Methods Study of Nutritional Competencies and Skills of School Nutrition Professionals in Nebraska

Zainab Rida, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of this statewide study was to address the nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of school foodservice personnel in Nebraska regarding offering/serving healthy school meals. Moreover, this study identified some potential barriers and avenues of action for decreasing likelihood of preventable diseases such as childhood obesity, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, high blood cholesterol and type II diabetes in general and offering/serving healthy school meals specifically. ^ A convergent parallel mixed methods design was used in which qualitative and quantitative data were collected in parallel, analyzed separately, and then merged. Data collected from the first phase (quantitative) and third phase (qualitative) support the finding in the second phase (quantitative). SFP shared many promising action plans toward making healthy school meals. ^ Data obtained from this study indicates that there is a strong correlation (r = .103, p <.05) between foodservice personnel attitudes and offering healthy school meals. Although SFP had a positive attitude toward offering/serving healthy school meals, they still voiced their concerns regarding teachers, students and their parents' attitudes toward offering/serving healthy school meals through the third phase of the study. ^ Data from this study suggested that there is a strong correlation ( r .237, p < .01) between the foodservice staff's self-efficacy and their practices of offering/serving healthy school meals. Fortunately, the relationship between foodservice staff practices of offering/serving healthy school meals and their self-efficacy was positive and significantly predicted practices scores, β =.237, P < 0.01. The finding of the present study also identifies many barriers including lack of time and support that face the foodservice personnel in offering/serving healthy school meals. ^ The findings suggested that there is an urgent need of a full school approach to promote and encourage healthy eating habits among students. Future research is needed to evaluate school wellness policies regarding healthy eating practices in schools. Moreover, establish partnerships with communities and universities for intervention that target students and their parents. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nutrition|Health Sciences, Public Health

Recommended Citation

Rida, Zainab, "School Food Environment the Frontline for Childhood Obesity Prevention - A Mixed-Methods Study of Nutritional Competencies and Skills of School Nutrition Professionals in Nebraska" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3543901.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3543901

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