UBC Theses and Dissertations
Evaluation of a short-term health educational program Vogel, Anne MacLeod
An intervention study was conducted in a Vancouver, British Columbia High School in the Spring of 1977. The objective of the study was to measure changes in knowledge, attitude and behaviour in regard to the cardiovascular risk-factors, smoking, physical inactivity and high-fat diet, following a short-term educational program. The principal hypotheses were that students exposed to an educational program directed towards reducing cardiovascular risk-behaviours will: (I) have more knowledge about cardiovascular risk-behaviours than students who are not exposed to the program. (2) have a more positive attitude towards reducing cardiovascular risk-behaviours than students who are not exposed to the program. (3) will change their behaviour in such a way as to practice fewer risk-behaviours than students who are not exposed to the program. The majority of the students in the study school were from middle-class backgrounds and were in the university entrance program. The study population consisted of all of the students in grade 9 and one-half of the students in grade 10 and 11 for a total of 510 students. The students were randomly assigned to two groups. One group was exposed to a health educational program directed towards reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. The program consisted of a presentation by a health educator, a film and written materials provided by the British Columbia Heart Foundation. The control group took part in the regular school guidance classes. A pretest, post-test research design was used. The measuring instrument used was a written questionnaire developed from the content of the educational program. The students completed the same questionnaire before and after their exposure to the educational program. The students also took part in pretest, post-test fitness testing using the Canada Home Fitness Test. The 287 students exposed to the educational program were compared with 187 from the same grade and school who were not exposed to the educational program. In regard to the hypotheses stated above, significantly more students in the intervention group answered 11 of the 34 of the knowledge questions correctly. There were no differences between the intervention and nonintervention groups indicated by replies to the questions about attitude towards reducing cardiovascular risk. There were no differences between the intervention and nonintervention group in self-reported, cardiovascular risk-behaviour. Fitness levels as measured by the Canada Home Fitness Test showed a puzzling increase in fitness among the nonintervention group. In summary, the study indicated that students exposed to a health educational program in school had a significant increase in health knowledge but not in health, attitude nor behaviour. The evidence in this study that students made significant knowledge gains following an educational program, together with the theory that knowledge of factual information is often the first step in the decision making process (Bloom, 1956), justifies continued health educational programs in schools. Although, this study did not provide evidence of attitude or behaviour change in the short-term, further long-term evaluative studies of health educational programs in the schools are indicated.
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