Evaluation of a nutrition education module as a component of the career orientation of Southern Baptist foreign missionaries

Hart, Patricia Creel
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a nutrition education module on the nutrition knowledge, flexibility of attitude toward nutrition and attitude about nutrition education of foreign missionaries.

The sample was composed of newly appointed foreign missionaries attending orientation in preparation for their overseas assignments. The experimental group participated in a four-week nutrition education module, while the control group did not. The module was based on both cognitive and affective concepts.

The experimental and control groups completed pre- and post-test questionnaires which included an information sheet, Nutrition Knowledge Test (NKT), Flexibility of Attitude Toward Nutrition Scale (FATNS), and Attitude Toward Nutrition Education Scale (AANES).

Missionaries in the experimental group demonstrated significant increases in both nutrition knowledge and positive attitudes about nutrition education after participation in the module. The control group, however, had no significant increase in knowledge at post testing and, in general, had significantly more negative attitudes about nutrition education. Because of a possible ceiling effect of the FATNS, no significant changes in flexibility were detected for the control group and only for one statement in the experimental group. Significant positive correlations resulted at post-testing between nutrition knowledge and attitude as well as knowledge and flexibility for the experimental group and between flexibility and attitude for both experimental and control groups.

Results from this study suggest that change in nutrition knowledge precedes change in attitude in the knowledge-attitude-behavior pathway. This sequence supports the principles of adult learning and theory of holistic education upon which the program of missionary orientation is based.

Health and environmental sciences, Foreign missionary orientation, Nutrition knowledge