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Women's attitudes about calcium intake and calcium-related educational materials

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Chan, Mimi W. (main author), Chapman, Karen M. (author), Foods and Nutrition, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Conference paper
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois Box: 97
Subject Term:
attitudes, behavior, dairy, educational needs, focus groups, food, Illinois, USA, nutrition education, teaching aids, women
James F. Evans Collection, Ham, Mimeographed, 1994. 1 p. Presented at the Society for Nutrition Education, Portland, OR, July 16-20, 1994., Because attitudes about a topic can diminish the effectiveness of informational materials, previously identified attitudes concerning calcium intake were explored through focus group interviews. The purpose of this study was to clarify women's attitudes and behaviors toward calcium-related topics and nutrition education materials. Participants were recruited through Cooperative Extension Service, a church group, and the University of Illinois. Although four focus groups of 6-7 participants were planned, each group consisted of 2-6 women. All focus groups followed the same format, lasting for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; questions progressed from the general to more specific. Preliminary questions were directed at determining women's attitudes, interest, behavior, knowledge, and lifestyle. As the focus group interviews progressed, questions became more specific in assessing the nutrition education materials for readability, attractiveness, usefulness, age-appropriateness, and validity. Discussions also included whether dietary behavior change occurred as a result of educational materials, motivation to take materials home, and general use of materials. The focus group format allowed for in-depth discussions on the topics and provided rationale based on age and background knowledge. Motivating factors included prior interest in the topic and length of the materials. Many women mentioned that their busy lifestyles restricted them from reading long brochures. Younger women tended to underestimate the older women's ability to read smaller print size. Most importantly, neither younger nor older women felt that osteoporosis was a problem that their age group needed to address. Lastly, knowledge level of the general public was overestimated by one focus group comprised of graduate students. This study emphasized that women's attitudes about calcium intake and osteoporosis need to be addressed if nutrition education materials are to be effective.