248496 Embracing new technologies and digital/social media for delivering nutrition education: Evidence analysis, market research, environmental scans, and ethnographic surveys

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:06 PM

Joanne Spahn, MS, RD, FADA , Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, US Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA
Donna Blum-Kemelor, MS, RD , Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, US Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA
Julie E. Obbagy, PhD, RD , Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, US Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA
Sara Olson, ScM, RD, LDN , Office of Research and Analysis, US Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA
Sarah Samuels, DrPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sallie Yoshida, DrPH, RD , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Maria Boyle, MS, RD , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Ted Shen, MS , Senior Research Associate, IMPAQ International LLC, Columbia, MD
INTRODUCTION: While new technologies present a unique opportunity to deliver nutrition education, little is known about ways in which nutrition educators have embraced the use of new technologies and digital/social media. Research is being conducted to ascertain the most effective designs and tools for delivering child-focused, school-based nutrition education using new technologies that may improve food choices and other nutrition-related behaviors of children.

METHODS: A systematic review, review of market research, three environmental scans, and 30 key informant interviews are being conducted to understand the use of communication technologies and digital/social media for school- and community-based nutrition education, and identify programs that incorporate use of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid in their materials.

RESULTS: Moderate evidence shows that nutrition education delivered via digital media or other technology may be effective for improving dietary intake-related behaviors among youth. However, market research findings show a small portion of the new technologies being used in nutrition education. While video games, computer-delivered interventions, and text messaging are used for educational purposes, the potential for the use of innovative technology has yet to be fully achieved. Findings from environmental scans and key informant surveys will provide a more in-depth description of the use, strengths and barriers, and strategies for incorporating new technology into nutrition education.

DISCUSSION: As obesity continues to be a significant public health problem, new ways to deliver nutrition education become increasingly vital. New technologies and digital/social media deserve further exploration as innovative tools for improving nutrition and physical activity-related behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the results of a systematic review designed to ascertain the effect of nutrition education delivered via digital media and technology on children’s dietary intake-related behaviors. Describe three examples in which nutrition education has been provided using technology and digital/social media to change knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. List three ways traditional nutrition education can be delivered using new technologies, including digital/social media.

Keywords: Health Education Strategies, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I direct the USDA Nutrition Evidence Library that completed the systematic review on nutrition education delivered via digital media and technology. My staff defined the requirements and oversee the execution of the contract for the market research, environmental scans and ethnographic surveys supporting the presented results.
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.