Nutrition Knowledge and Self-Efficacy among Classroom Teachers from a Large Urban School District in Los Angeles County
Purpose: School teachers play a critical role in providing nutrition information to students. Yet, in order for teachers to be a valuable source of nutrition information, they must be equipped with adequate knowledge to be able to convey accurate information to students. The purpose of this study was to assess nutrition-related knowledge and self-efficacy of teachers from a large urban school district in Los Angeles County. Methods: Using a convenience sample, 59 teachers from six elementary schools completed a one time only questionnaire assessing knowledge of food groups and self-efficacy to implement nutrition activities in the classroom. Differences in teachers’ responses to questions on knowledge and self-efficacy by demographics were also assessed. Results: The overall mean nutrition knowledge and self-efficacy scores were 50.4% and 71.4% respectively. Differences in nutrition knowledge and self-efficacy by demographic characteristics were observed. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that teachers in our sample did not have adequate levels of nutrition knowledge, and may not have possessed the necessary skills to effectively deliver nutrition education to their students. Current efforts to train and educate teachers on nutrition are perhaps falling short of the level needed to effect change in students’ dietary behaviors.