Research article
Issue: № 11 (65), 2017

Макеева А.Г.

Кандидат педагогических наук, ФГБНУ Институт возрастной физиологии Российской Академии образования



В статье представлены результаты изучения влияния школьной программы правильного питания на знания и поведение педагогов, участвовавших в ее реализации. В исследовании принимали участие педагоги, реализующие 3 и более лет программу обучения основам правильного питания, а также педагоги, не участвующие в такого рода проектах. Оказалось, что участие в реализации программы правильного питания не только влияет на уровень осведомленности педагогов, но и побуждает вести их более здоровый образ жизни в целом – соблюдать режим питания, чаще использовать полезные продукты.

Ключевые слова: питание, здоровье, рацион, режим питания, поведение, связанное с питаниям, культуры питания, образовательная программа.

Makeeva A.G.

PHd, Institute of Developmental Physiology of Russian Academy of Education



Results of influence of the nutrition educational program on teacher’s behavior and knowledge are presented. Two groups of teachers are involved in the research. First group realized special program of nutrition education during three years. Second group of teachers did not take part in the program. Teachers involved in the program demonstrated deeper knowledge about nutrition and follow healthy diet more often comparison teachers not involved in the program

Keywords. Nutrition, health, ration, regime, nutrition behavior, nutrition culture, educational program.


In Russian, similar to many other countries, nutrition education is being considered as a very important way to decrease illness among different social groups, but mainly among teenagers and children [2], [6].

Nutrition education programs are often cited as one of many factors contributing to the prevention of childhood obesity, overweight, and diet-related non-communicable diseases

Many researches confirm effectiveness of educational interventions to improve lifelong health trajectories of children. Nutrition education can increase children’s awareness in the sphere of nutrition, motivate children to consume healthy food, follow healthy regime etc.

Traditionally, analyze of impact of nutrition education is aimed to groups of children involved in the nutrition program directly [5], [8].

But we suppose, that real effect of the nutrition education is more significant and can address additional results in order to achieve healthy and sustainable living for other social groups. In particular, effect of nutrition education can spread on teachers who are run the lessons of nutrition within the Program.

To confirm our suggestion we have run special research within the Russian healthy kids program - the largest and the most popular Russian nutrition program implemented in schools since 1999.


The research was performed among 230 teachers from 6 regions of Russia. The main group (130 respondents) consisted of teachers, who are running the healthy kids Programme during 3 and more years. The control group (100 respondents) included teachers who were not involved in any nutrition programs. The groups were formed on the basis of age as well as on the basis of social and cultural features – teachers work in the same schools. All women aged from 30 to 45.

The information was collected through on-line questionnaires. It was developed for a one-time data collection. It was used to study awareness of teachers about nutrition, specific of their nutrition regime and ration, their ideas about role of nutrition education.  Questionnaire includes points aimed to studying the respondents’ lifestyle (physical activities, daily regime) too.

The results in the control and the main groups were compared. This analysis enabled us not only to confirm real positive influence of the program on teachers but also to clarify how this program impact is revealed in teacher’s knowledge, ideas and behavior connected with nutrition

Results and discussion

How teachers evaluate their lifestyle

Most of the respondents in both groups consider nutrition as the most important factors of human health.  Physical activities are on the second place. Other factors, such as regime, ecological situation and stress were considered to be less significant.

According Russian Federal State Educational Standards School is responsibly to shape a healthy life for young people and have to provide special health education. So teachers play important role to forming healthy habits among their students and have to teach them to be healthy.

The most of our respondents in booth groups describe their lifestyle as a «healthy»

Further analysis was intended to clarify teacher’s evaluations of their lifestyle.  The special list of lifestyle characteristics was prepared. Teachers had to indicate the characteristics corresponding their daily routine.


Table 1 – Teacher’s ideas about their lifestyle

Characteristics of lifestyle Main group (in %) Control group ( in % )
Regular physical activities (1 time a week and more) 14 % 9%
Enough sleeping (go to bed before 23.00) 53 % 45%
Healthy diet 35 %* 18%*
Regular regime 23 %* 16%*
No stress situations 17% 12%
Regularly walking 10% 12%
Nothing from above 20 %* 27%*
Note: * significant difference  

The most teachers from the both groups chose 1 or 2 points from the list only. Many teachers did not mark any points at all, they thought these characteristics do not correspond their daily routine.

The results are correspondent with the teacher’s general negative perceptions about their lifestyle (see above). They are not satisfied their way and thought it could not contribute to health preservation. Nonetheless the average number of choosing points in the main group is higher - 1,8 (in the control group - 1,2).  Teachers program participants marked some points more often comparison the control group. The most significant difference connects with the point «healthy diet».

Thus nutrition education program can’t radically change the lifestyle of our respondents. But it can develop more caring attitude towards health, motivate teachers’ pay more attention to some components of healthy life, especially to nutrition.

Teacher’s awareness about nutrition

Many researchers emphasize the impact of awareness on real nutrition behavior [8].  Deep knowledge in sphere of nutrition play significant role to provide healthy dietary pattern and ration.

Considering the importance of this factor, we asked our respondents to estimate their awareness of different aspects of nutrition and give 0-3 points, where 0 is «no knowledge» and «3» is  «high level of awareness».


Table 2 – Teacher’s estimation of their awareness in the sphere of nutrition

Nnutrition knowledge

Main group (average point) Control group (average points)
How to form dietary pattern among children 2,7* 1,8*
How to form hygienic habits among children 2,4 2.1
How to cook tasty and useful dishes 2 1,7
How to make up healthy menu 2,5 2,3
How to lay the table 2* 1,2*
How to follow etiquette during the meal 2,4* 1,7*
Average point 2, 3* 1,8*
Note: * significant difference  

These statistics demonstrate the positive impact the programme has on teachers’s awareness.  Teachers from the main group are more confident in their knowledge about nutrition and evaluated their level of awareness higher comparison the control group, the most difference is revealed in such aspects as a forming of healthy habits and cultural patterns connected with meal, among children.

So participation in the Program broadens teacher’s knowledge about nutrition, motivate them to learn more about food, healthy regime, etiquette and etc.

Characteristics of teacher’s diet and regime

Most our respondents have unregularly nutrition. Many teachers from the main and control groups did not mark breakfast and lunch as a typical part of their menu, had late dinner and etc. Unfortunately, school canteens are not popular among our respondents and can’t help them to follow healthy regime. Less than half of our respondents visit school canteen regularly. The main reasons marked by respondents – why school canteens are not popular –are lack of time for visit to canteen and low quality of food.

Table 3 – Teacher’s nutrition regime

Characteristics of regime Main group (in %) Control group (in %)
Rregular breakfast 36 37
Lunch with 2-3 courses including hot meal 37* 28*
Snacks at daytime, instead lunch 15* 23*
Dinner after 20.00 59 63
Regular breakfasts in school canteen 32* 23*
Regular lunch in the canteen 31* 17*
Note: * significant difference  

Despite the fact that unregularly regime is typical for all respondents, teachers from the main group try to follow healthy regime more often. It can be considered as a positive impact of Program participation.

To study teacher’s diet we asked them to indicate products and dishes that form their daily menu. As well as a daily regime daily ration of our respondents does not correspond to recommendations of dietarians in general.   Lack of consumption of such important food as vegetables, dairy products and cereal was revealed. Less than half of teachers eat these products every day.

Table 4 – Characteristics of teachers daily ration

Type of food Main group (% of teachers who eat the dish every day or almost every day) Control group (% of teachers who eat the dish every day or almost every day)
Fresh vegetables 36* 29*
Fruit 73 76
Soups 45* 30*
Meat dishes 82 80
Dairy products 31 29
Cereals 32* 19*
Note: *significant difference  

It all means that Education Program itself did not radically improve the typical menu of teachers. The main role here is played by social and economic factors.

Despite this, the Program can still have a positive influence on teacher’s diet. As we’ve found out, popularity of some type of healthy food among teachers from the main group is higher, teachers marked vegetables, soups and cereals as a part of their daily menu more often comparison with not-participants.

Program not only motivates teachers eat healthy food but also stimulate them to limit consumption of sweet, salt and fat products too. More than half of the main group mentioned that they try to control and reduce eating sweets, pickles, greasy food, while in the control group only 30% of teachers do it.

Notable difference was revealed between the teachers of main and control group in their attitude to cooking. Around 60% of Program participants said that they like to cook (in the control group- only 48%).

Popularity of cultural norms and traditions connected nutrition among teachers.

In order to further clarification of Program influence on teacher’s behavior we asked them to indicate popularity of some culinary traditions and norms in their families. Teachers had to evaluate the popularity using points:   «0» points meant «never do it», 1 - «rarely», 2 - «often- not less than 1-2 times per week», 3- «every day or almost every day».


Table 5 – Popularity of cultural norms connected with nutrition among teachers

Cultural norms and habits

Main group (average point in the group) Control point (average point in the group)
Joint meals (when the whole family eats together) 2,3* 1,6*
Laying the table before eating 2,1* 1,4*
Joint cooking with children 2* 1,3*
Joint discussion of family menu  with children 1,9* 1,2*
Using new, unusual recipes for cooking 2,1* 1,5*

As we can see cultural patterns of program participants are more varieties comparison with not-participants.  They marked more culinary traditions as typical for their families.  So the Program does not help teachers-participants to learn new cultural patterns connected nutrition only, but influence on nutrition behavior of their family’s member too.

Attention should be paid to the fact that the difference in popularity of culinary traditions among our respondents are more significant comparison with differences between their ration and regime (see above). Programs contribution to enlarge cultural forms of behavior connected nutrition is more significant than its influence on teachers menu and regime.

Teacher’s ideas about role of nutrition education

Teachers from both groups are sure that family is the main institution forming nutrition culture among children. At the same time they consider school as an important structure that should help children to learn healthy habits.

Most part of teachers in both groups think that special nutrition Programs have to be implemented in the school extracurricular plan of work obligatory. In their opinion nutrition education have to be started in 1-2th classes of primary school and lastеd for 3-5 years.

The difference in evaluations of Programs impact is revealed. The teachers from the main group think that nutrition education could positive influence as on children’s awareness and nutrition behavior (regime and ration), so on parents ideas about nutrition and family menu too. Teachers from the control group limits the program influence by positive changings in children’s knowledge and behavior only.


Role of school nutrition programs is not limited by changings in knowledge and behavior of students only (target groups), but has an impact on the teachers, who are engaged in the programs realization too.

Program helps teachers to broaden their awareness – teachers from the main group are surer in their knowledge comparison with teachers from the control group. Participation in the Program stimulates teacher’s interest to information connected nutrition and motivates them to learn more about nutrition.

Teachers defined their lifestyle as unhealthy in general. They have lack of physical activity, do not sleep enough, miss breakfast, eat snacks instead lunch and etc.  The nutrition program is not capable of changing the teacher’s nutrition and lifestyle totally. But it can stimulate they pay more attention some aspects of their nutrition, improve their ration and regime. Teachers involved in the program realization follow healthy nutrition more often comparison teachers do not involved in it.

The main impact of the program is development of teacher’s cultural patterns connected nutrition and integrating   these traditions and norms in their daily routine.

All teachers consider school as a one of the main institutions playing significant role in forming nutrition culture among children. But teachers who have real experience of Program realization evaluate program contribution more significantly.

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