Nutr Res Pract.  2007 Dec;1(4):341-348.

Study on utilization status of internet and needs assessment for developing nutrition education programs among elementary school children

Affiliations
  • 1Food and Nutrition, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul Women's University, Seoul 139-774, Korea. kwkim@swu.ac.kr

Abstract

This study was to investigate utilization status of internet, health/nutrition websites among children, and to assess the needs for developing nutrition websites and education programs for children. The survey questionnaire was administered to 5-6th grade students (n=434) at two elementary schools. About 32% used the internet every day while 19.5% used it whenever they needed, showing significant differences in internet usage by gender (p<0.01). Although the subjects used the internet frequently, those who used health/nutrition websites were 23.3%. The purpose of using these sites were mainly 'to obtain health/nutrition information' (55%), 'to get information regarding weight control' (17%). Fifty-six percent of the users were satisfied with the nutrition websites, but only 30% said that they were helpful. The preferred topics in developing nutrition websites were assessment of obesity, exercise methods, weight control methods, nutrition information (e.g., diet for stature growth), dietary assessment and food hygiene. Girls showed more interest in these topics than boys (p<0.05). For school nutrition education, girls showed more interest than boys in topics for cooking snacks (p<0.001) and selecting snacks (p<0.05). In nutrition websites, subjects wanted to have information and game/quiz, as well as getting information using Flash animation. The favorite colors for screen and text were slightly different by gender (p<0.01). In school nutrition education, 89.5% of subjects liked to have activities (e.g., cooking, exercise, game). They also liked materials using computers, video and internet than printed materials. If nutrition education was done at schools, subjects wanted to receive 5.7 times of education per semester on average (mean length: 42.6 min./session). This study suggests that nutrition websites and education programs for children should include the topics such as assessment of obesity or diet, weight control and special information (e.g., diet for growth) as well as general information. In designing nutrition websites and programs, methods including game, quiz, Flash animation and activities (cooking, exercise) could be appropriately used to induce the interest and involvement of children.

Keyword

Internet use; needs assessment; nutrition education; elementary school children
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