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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Diet and cardiovascular disease : interrelationships among nutrition attitudes, knowledge, practice, and biodemographic characteristics of adult members of community centres Sullivan, Ann Dolores


A study was designed to investigate the attitudes, knowledge, and practice regarding diet and cardiovascular disease (CVD) among adult members attending selected community centres. The relationships among attitudes, knowledge, and practice and the influence of specific biodemographic variables on these three dependent variables were determined. The independent vari ables, non-manipulative in nature, were age, gender, living arrangement, family history of CVD, personal history of CVD, physical exercise pattern, smoking habit, education level, and obesity risk. Data were collected by a self-administered questionnaire that had been validated and pretested in a pilot study In May 1979, questionnaires were distributed by random day to adult members of 11 community centres in the city of Vancouver. Each centre was represented by a random sample or by volunteers in attendance at each class on the chosen day. The final sample size was 281, yielding an overall response rate of 74.7%. Data were analyzed by computer and all analyses were conducted at the .05 level of significance. Expressed as percentages of possible scores, the mean scores for the two attitude subtests and total test were quite high (83%) with standard deviations of 8 to 9%. The mean scores for the three knowledge subtests and total test revealed tests of medium difficulty (48 to 53%) with standard deviations of 12 to 17%. Practice scores, expressed as ratios of recommended values, were equal to or exceeded the Canadian Dietary Standard and the Nutrition Recommendations for Canadians for nine of the 11 nutrients examined; all were greater than 67% of the recommended values. Reliabilities determined by internal consistency, test-retest, and congruency check procedures for attitudes and knowledge, biodemographic, and practice instruments, respectively, were considered adequate for the purpose of the study. Correlation analysis revealed that attitudes and knowledge were moderately correlated (range .38 to .56) but practice and both attitudes and knowledge were weakly correlated (range .00 to .24). One-way multivariate analyses of variance revealed that living arrangement, degree of obesity, and positive family history of CVD did not appear to have an effect on any of the dependent variables. Smoking habit was not found to influence either attitudes or knowledge. Multivariate analyses of variance revealed that respondents with a positive personal history of CVD had significantly different attitudes toward the use of diet in prevention of CVD and performed significantly better on the subtest about the affect of foods than those without a positive history. Adults under 50 years of age had significantly more positive attitudes toward the role of diet in heart disease and scored significantly higher on subtest of facts versus fallacy than adults over 50 years of age. Females had significantly more positive attitudes and performed significantly better on all knowledge subtests than males. The education group with less than grade 12 had significantly less positive attitudes toward the role of diet' in heart disease and significantly lower knowledge related to food composition than all other education groups; and significantly lower scores on facts versus fallacy than the one to three years university group. No significant differences in knowledge or practice were observed between groups who varied in exercise pattern, however, the sedentary group had significantly less positive attitudes toward the role of diet in heart disease than those who were classified as high moderate or vigorous. While significant differences in practice were observed for a number of biodemographic variables, no particular group was characterized by a deficient or excess intake of any of the 11 nutrients examined. Several implications for nutrition education were inferred from interpretation of results.

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