An assessment of health educators' likelihood of adopting genetically modified food competencies for health promotion

O'Donnell, Renee
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Genetically modified (GM) food utilizes biotechnology to increase crop yield, decrease pesticide use, modify nutritional content, and other desirable effects to systematically influence how food is produced. The acceptance of GM food technology has been met with opposition as communities campaign for GM food labeling and/or promote the possibility of detrimental effects from foods that are GM. To date, there are no GM Food Competencies that have been standardized across all public health organizations. The purpose of this study was to assess health educators’ knowledge and attitude toward GM food, where they received information regarding GM food, and if they participated in GM food education at present. A quantitative data collection was employed in which 98 health educators completed an online survey questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were used to answer the research questions. Pearson correlations were conducted to address the null hypotheses. An analysis of variance was computed to help support investigations. Structural equation models (SEMs) were created to help explain the mediation relationship media and perceived barriers had on other test variables, like self-efficacy in performing GM food education tasks. Findings of this study indicated that the majority of health educators had no previous experience in GM food education and their knowledge was low regarding what GM food is; however, their perceived barriers in addressing GM food as health educators’ responsibility were similar. The results of this study supported the need for establishing GM food competencies across health organizations and disciplines in order to help ensure consumers receive unbiased, scientific information, in order to properly discern whether GM food provides benefits and/or harm to the consumer.

Nutrition, Health education, Health and environmental sciences, Education, Genetic engineering, Genetic modification, Health educator