The effectiveness of a food based dietary guideline nutrition education game and educator's support material as a supplement to improve retention of knowledge in rural Grade 5 learners, living in Sweetwaters, KwaZulu-Natal.
Aim: To determine the effectiveness of a Food Based Dietary Guideline (FBDG) nutrition education game and educator’s support material (ESM) as a supplement to improve retention of knowledge in rural Grade 5 learners, living in Sweetwaters, KwaZulu-Natal. Objectives: To determine: the baseline nutritional knowledge of Grade 5 learners; the effects of the ESM or a nutrition education game on the retention of FBDG knowledge, and the educators’ opinions about using both the ESM and the nutrition education game. Method: An intervention study involving 266 Grade 5 learners in four schools. A pre-test was followed by either an ESM intervention or a nutrition education game intervention. A post-test was conducted to determine the effects of both interventions on FBDG knowledge retention. A second questionnaire was administered to the educators of the learners who participated in the interventions. Results: The sample was made up of 53.8% (n=141) male participants and 46.2% (n=121) females, all between the ages of 8 and 15 years. Results showed very little improvement in the retention of knowledge as a whole. However, questions that asked about familiar concepts showed an improvement compared to those that were completely new. More complicated questions showed an improvement when the game was used, as the pictorial representation helped the learners to remember the answer. For example the average percentage for knowledge of fortification before the game was 1% while post intervention it increased to 29.6%. This showed that simple concepts based on a good pictorial representation were retained better than information that was difficult to conceptualise. All educators found the game useful and beneficial for the learners. The ESM was not as well used as the game as it was perceived to be too time consuming. Conclusion: Learners enjoyed the game and the educators gave positive feedback, however there was no significant retention of knowledge in this study. Further research needs to be done using a game as a tool for nutrition education over a longer period of time and with a greater amount of educator training.
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