Date of Award

Summer 6-28-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Anita Nucci, PhD, RD, LD

Second Advisor

Sarah Henes, PhD, RD, LD

Third Advisor

Murugi Ndirangu, PhD


Background: Children and adolescents are not meeting the dietary guidelines and overweight and obesity related diseases are on the rise among youth in the United States. However, research is inconsistent with regard to the most effective method of educating urban youth.

Purpose: To determine the effect of a supplemental nutrition education on the knowledge and behaviors of urban school students.

Methods: Six nutrition lessons were provided to students attending the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA) in Atlanta, GA. A pre- and posttest was administered to assess differences in students’ nutrition knowledge and behaviors. Chi-square analysis compared the number of correct answers for the entire intervention population and after stratification by gender and number of classes missed. The Wilcoxon signed rank test compared the median number of correct answers in pre- vs. posttest responses for all participants and by the number of classes missed.

Results: 15 students enrolled in the study. 2 students did not complete the study. A significant but negative change in knowledge was found in 1 of 15 nutrition questions. A significant negative change in the median number of total answers correct on the pre- vs. posttest was also observed (p=0.049). Approximately 60% of the participants reported that they were more likely to make positive, nutrition-related behavior changes after the intervention.

Conclusion: We found a negative association between the nutrition education intervention and knowledge gain. This study suggests that nutrition education alone does not have a significant effect on nutrition knowledge of urban youth.