Health SA Gesondheid (Online)
On-line version ISSN 1025-9848
OLDEWAGE-THERON, Wilna H. and EGAL, Abdulkadir. Impact of nutrition education on nutrition knowledge of public school educators in South Africa: A pilot study. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.1, pp. 1-8. ISSN 1025-9848.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has not given nutrition education the necessary emphasis that it needs, despite its importance in South African schools. Nutrition is included as only one of many topics forming part of the Life Orientation syllabus. Educators are role models for learners in making healthy food choices, however, studies have shown that major gaps exist in the health and nutrition-related knowledge and behaviour of educators. The objective of this research was to undertake a pilot study to determine the impact of a nutrition education programme (NEP) on the nutrition knowledge of Life Orientation educators in public schools in South Africa (SA). An exploratory baseline survey, to determine the nutrition education practices in 45 purposively selected public schools, was carried out before the experimental nutrition education intervention study. A nutrition knowledge questionnaire was completed by 24 purposively selected educators, representing all nine provinces in SA, before and after a three-day NEP. Pre and post-NEP data were analysed on the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for a Windows program version 17.0 for descriptive statistics, version 17.0. Paired t-tests measured statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) before and after the NEP. The knowledge of the respondents improved significantly after the NEP as the mean±s.d. score of correctly answered questions (n = 59) improved from 63.3±30.2% before to 80.6±21.1% after the NEP. The results proved that nutrition knowledge of Life Orientation educators in primary schools is not optimal, but can be improved by NEP.