Nutrition and Other Protective Behaviors Motivated by Environmental Health Risk Awareness
Elizabeth W. Jones1, Limin Feng2, Jane K. Dixon3, John P. Dixon4, Carolyn R. Hofe5, Lisa M. Gaetke1, 5, *
1 Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, University of Kentucky, 203 Funkhouser Bldg, Lexington, KY 40506-0054, USA
2 Department of Statistics, University of Kentucky, 817 Patterson Office Tower, Lexington, KY 40506-0027, USA
3 Yale University, School of Nursing, New Haven CT 06536-0740, USA
4 Greater New Haven Green Fund, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
5 Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, University of Kentucky, 115 Funkhouser Bldg, Lexington, KY 40506-0054, USA
Research findings have suggested that exposure to environmental pollutants contributes to increased health risks, which may be modulated by certain nutrition and other protective health behaviors. Nutrition professionals play an important role in effectively disseminating this information and in devising specific community-based nutrition education programs for audiences located in areas with environmental health issues.
To assess awareness of environmental health problems and motivation to adopt protective health behaviors for use in planning nutrition education programs for communities exposed to environmental pollutants.
Data were collected from a modified, validated Environmental Health Engagement Profile (EHEP) survey instrument administered to adults (n=774) participating in community events in Kentucky based on location relative to hazardous waste sites.
The modified EHEP survey instrument showed good internal consistency reliability, and demographic characteristics were evaluated. Correlation analyses revealed significant positive correlations in all groups, separately and combined, between awareness of environmental pollution in an individual’s surroundings and the extent of concern that pollutants cause adverse health effects (P < 0.01) and between concern that pollutants cause adverse health effects and taking personal actions to protect against such environmental insults (P < 0.01). The groups having the highest level of awareness posed by pollution are those residing near federally designated hazardous waste sites.
These results suggest that determining and expanding an audience’s knowledge and perceptions of environmental health risks will enhance effective nutrition education program planning.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, University of Kentucky, 119 Funkhouser Bldg, Lexington, KY 40506-0054, USA; Tel: 859-257-1031; Fax: 859-257-3707; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org