An investigation into the perceived value of the provision of nutrition education among students of contemporary dance: a mixed methods study

By Anne Pemberton

Abstract

Background:

A nutrition programme designed and delivered over three years to undergraduate students attending the Northern School of Contemporary dance in Leeds required evaluation

Aims:

To evaluate the nutrition education programme by exploring students’ reported health issues/concerns, current nutritional practice, nutritional barriers faced and the impact of teaching/learning about nutrition on these variables. To make recommendations for future teaching and evaluation.

Methods:

The 10-session nutrition programme was delivered during year one of a DPA (Hons) course, with ~25-30 pupils attending one of two weekly classes. Evaluation was undertaken for each cohort over a three-year period (2009-2012) plus a single post-hoc occasion (2-4 years later). The mixed methods approach included the use of a MYCAW questionnaire. Time points for data collection were: at session one (MYCAW1 & 24-hr diary) and session 6 (MYCAW2 & 24 hr-diary), both administered face-to-face and at follow up (MYCAWFU, 24-hr diary & attitude and behaviour questionnaire), immediately pre- and post-graduation, administered face-to-face or by post. Data were coded and entered into SPSSR 20 software for analysis.

Findings:

Over three UG years combined, 165 completed MYCAW1/24-hr diary and 127 the MYCAW2/24-hr diary. At follow-up, there were 87 respondents, representing a 65% (N=134) response rate (22% males/ 68% females). MYCAW well-being scores did not change significantly over time, although at MYCAW2, males achieved a significantly better score than females. Comparative analysis of the 24-hr diaries showed a statistically significant improvement between UG sessions one and six, being sustained at follow-up. Fatigue was a major concern throughout with subjects requesting topics associated with increasing energy. Barriers were identified that could prevent appropriate nutritional intake. These will need to be managed effectively in future programmes.

Conclusion:

The study was the first of its kind, providing novel information. Some positive outcomes were identified. However, regular review is needed.