Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

Document Type



Nutrition education has the potential not only to increase nutrition knowledge and, potentially, healthy behaviors, among the elderly, but also to reduce the need for health and social services. The nutrition component described herein is part of an overall wellness program that focuses on increasing physical activity and healthy dietary behaviors among participants. We completed a four month nutrition intervention in a group of 33 low income elderly at the Leo Butler Center (LBC) (n=20) and Catholic Presbyterian Apartments (CPA) (n=13) in the fall of 2005 in Baton Rouge, LA. The Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) was used as the theoretical framework. Topics included in the intervention were MyPyramid and Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Food Labels, Nutrition and Aging, and Food Safety. Pre-post testing was used before and after each class to determine changes in knowledge. Food Security status and self-perceived eating habits, nutritional quality of the diet, and nutrition knowledge (pre-and post intervention) were also assessed. The majority of study participants were female (88%), African American (70%), and food secure (78%). Mean age was 66.60±10.93 years; mean weight was 86.36±21.9 kilos; and the mean number of classes attended was 1.88±0.86. For LBC participants, significant increases in knowledge (p<0.001) were shown for all lessons. For CPA participants, significant increases in knowledge were shown for all lessons with the exception of the Food Labels lesson (p=0.02, p=0.01, p<0.001 for MyPyramid and DGA lesson, Nutrition and Aging lesson, and the Food Safety lesson respectively). Significant differences were shown for self-perceived nutritional quality of the diet (p=0.01) and nutrition knowledge (p=0.02) for pre-post intervention results; however, no differences were shown for self-perceived eating habits. Two months after the intervention was completed, a follow up question to determine if there were any dietary changes was included. Respondents reported dietary changes, especially for increases in fruits and vegetables and use of food labels. Therefore, nutrition education in the elderly, especially on MyPyramid and DGA, and Food labels is recommended.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Carol E. ONeil



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Human Ecology Commons