Committee ChairJohnson, Bruce
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractInactive lifestyles and poor eating habits are the main culprits of the present increase in childhood obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and cancer. In order to counterbalance this deterioration of children's health, it is imperative that children are educated about good nutritional practices. Unfortunately, parents are not always well-informed about nutrition themselves, leaving teachers to be the necessary link between children and good nutrition.This study investigates what teachers understand about nutrition concepts, as this knowledge would be the necessary precursor to aiding students toward better health. Due to the limited research on nutrition education in the elementary classroom, this study was preceded by three pilot studies that lent themselves to the advancement of the researcher's understanding of nutrition and its place in the elementary school setting. Initially three preservice teachers were interviewed in order to examine the preparation of elementary teachers for teaching nutrition.In order to assess what teachers understand about nutrition it was necessary to create an instrument that would assess teachers' nutritional knowledge. Through several trials a nutrition content survey was created and modified. The final version was administered to three hundred and seventeen teachers. While creating the nutrition content survey, the researcher also compiled a proposed list for the "big ideas" in nutrition. These statements describe the nutritional concepts that elementary students should understand. The "big ideas" were used to create lesson plans that were taught to forty-four fifth graders. These students provided insight into the content of the lessons through pre-post assessments and gave interest feedback using anonymous questionnaires.While the nature of this study was exploratory and descriptive in nature, its quantitative and qualitative data provided insight into teachers' understanding of nutritional concepts. Along with these findings were some preliminary examinations into how preservice teachers are prepared for teaching nutrition, what elementary age students understand about nutrition and what interests them, and how teachers feel about teaching nutrition. This study provides many possible avenues for future research in the area of nutrition education.
Degree ProgramTeaching & Teacher Education