Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Nutrition and Food Science

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Gaetke, RD, LD

Abstract

Nutrition interventions are an effective way to improve the dietary habits and lifestyle choices and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The Researchers in the UK-SRP Community Engagement Core develop nutrition programs for communities affected by environmental pollutants. Risk communication is a discipline that can be used to develop targeted nutrition interventions that will yield positive behavior change. The purpose of this study was to examine knowledge, risk perception, and actions concerning environmental pollutants and nutrition behavior. Data was collected using a modified survey instrument based on the validated Environmental Health Engagement Profile (EHEP). Survey participants from diverse regions of the state included 1) health educators; 2) residents from a nonmetropolitan-non-Appalachian area; 3) a nonmetropolitan-Appalachian area; and 4) a metropolitan area. Results indicated a significant, positive correlation in all four groups between perception of environmental pollutants in a person’s surroundings and the extent of concern that pollutants cause adverse health effects (p < 0.01). Recognizing that participants see a link between environmental pollutants and their health allows nutrition researchers to develop targeted, effective nutrition interventions. This information will be useful in the development of future nutrition programs to improve the health of Superfund communities.

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