Narrative review of pedagogical interventions on nutrition knowledge and weight prejudice

Thea Werkhoven, Wayne Cotton, Dean Dudley

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    Objectives: To synthesize and review pedagogically informed interventions that increase nutrition knowledge and decrease weight prejudice among practicing and pre-service health and education professionals. These factors have been addressed as separate entities in intervention-based research and this represents a gap in current literature. The overall aim of the paper is to make a recommendation for an intervention design that improves nutrition knowledge and weight prejudice amongst health and education professionals by tackling them simultaneously. Methods: Pedagogically informed intervention studies conducted between 1980 and 2016 which met three strict inclusion criteria were critically evaluated. These criteria included an appropriate sample size to match study methodology, a constructively aligned and clearly stated research methodology and the use of a pedagogically informed intervention. The choice of theoretical framework of each study was assessed, along with outcomes of the studies. Results: A total of 22 studies met the inclusion criteria and were analysed. The use of pedagogy to inform intervention design was successful amongst interventions to improve nutrition knowledge. Addressing weight prejudice was semi-successful with the possibility of unintentional increases to prejudice possible with exposure to intervention content. Conclusions: Based on the studies in this review, interventions designed to achieve attitudinal change appear to be most likely to succeed if they are implemented using a combination of approaches that evoke empathy for overweight and obese individuals, explain alternate causes for obesity external to diet and exercise, create discourse regarding socio-cultural norms regarding obesity and promote self-reflection to attenuate fat phobic attitudes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalCogent education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • education
    • nutrition
    • intervention
    • obesity
    • nutrition knowledge
    • weight prejudice
    • pedagogy
    • higher education

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