207886 Creating memorable, compelling and relevant nutrition messages for today's moms and kids: The Core Nutrition Messages project

Monday, November 9, 2009

Alicia White, MS, RD , Food & Nutrition Service, Supplemental Food Programs Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA
Judy F. Wilson, MSPH, RD , Food & Nutrition Service, Office of Research and Analysis, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA
Adam M. Burns, MPP , Porter Novelli, Washington, DC
Anita Singh, PhD, RD , Food & Nutrition Service, Office of Research and Analysis, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA
Donna Blum-Kemelor, MS, RD, LD , Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Alexandria, VA
Given the tremendous influence mothers can have over the food and feeding environments in their households, nutrition interventions and social marketing campaigns targeting mothers can potentially affect the dietary habits of the whole family, particularly young children. This session will describe the process, findings and outcomes of an USDA Food and Nutrition Service initiative to develop a set of core nutrition education messages targeting low-income mothers and children. Thirty focus groups were conducted in eight States between December 2007 and July 2008 to assist in the development of messages that are clear, emotionally-based, realistic and compelling. One hundred and forty low-income mothers and 73 children participated in this formative research. Overall, mothers preferred messages that emphasized their role as a teacher, while children liked messages incorporating elements of fantasy and the idea of “being the best you could be.” Seven messages were developed for mothers of preschool-age children, five for mothers of elementary school-age children, and five for 8- to 10-year-old children. Messages for mothers address: maternal modeling of fruit and vegetable consumption; making fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk available and accessible in the home; cooking and eating together with children; introducing new foods; and letting children self-serve at meals. Messages for children reinforce messages for mothers and are designed to influence food preferences, beliefs and asking behaviors. An implementation guide was also developed that describes how to use the messages in theory-based interventions and provides information on cultural relevance, selecting communication channels and applications for Federal nutrition assistance programs.

Learning Objectives:
Session participants will be able to: Identify ways to use core nutrition messages in new and existing interventions targeting mothers and children. Apply lessons learned from qualitative research conducted with low-income mothers to other educational activities. Describe components of messages that 8-10 year old children find likable and compelling. Discuss factors influencing mealtime decisions from both sides of the dinner table.

Keywords: Nutrition, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Education and experience in publid health nutrition programs at the local, state and national levels and my key role in the development and implementation of this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.