Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Nutrition and Health Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Julie Albrecht. Lincoln, Nebraska: July 2011

Copyright 2011 Lindsay LaBrosse


Folate is important in the prevention of birth defects and in the maintenance of general health. Even after mandatory fortification, many people are still not consuming the RDA of 400 mcg/day. Consuming a diet rich in naturally high-folate foods, as opposed to supplementation, may offer additional health benefits and promote an overall healthy diet.

The purpose of this pilot study was to test the hypothesis that a learner-centered educational intervention based on the Health Belief Model (HBM) will successfully increase knowledge and consumption of folate-rich foods, while increasing positive beliefs about folate and health. A two group parallel control trial was conducted at two schools in Nebraska. Pre- and post- study questionnaires included a folate-based food frequency questionnaire, a HBM questionnaire, and a folate knowledge test. Participants in the intervention group also completed a post-study evaluation. The intervention consisted of three 30-minute lessons followed by participant creation of podcasts. One podcast was viewed each week for eight weeks following the lessons. Data were entered into SPSS. T-tests measured simple effects within the intervention and control groups, and ANOVA measured within-subject effects between the groups.

Folate consumption decreased in both the intervention and control groups, with a greater decrease occurring in the control group. These differences were not significant (p > 0.05). Significant increases (p= 0.000) in folate knowledge occurred in the intervention group. This difference remained significant (p= 0.001) when compared to the control group. Average HBM rankings significantly decreased (p < 0.05) toward “strongly agree” (likert scale of 1-6) in the intervention group (p < 0.05) for all constructs except cues to action. However, when compared to the control group these differences were only significant for self efficacy and perceived susceptibility. Creating and viewing podcasts may be helpful for the retention of knowledge over time, but did not appear to be an effective cue to action.

Advisor: Julie A. Albrecht