Honors Students' Abstracts
Reducing error in estimating caloric intake: A comparison of two educational modalities.
Samantha Valasek, Joseph M. Derian, Cristen J. Giangarra, Emanuel D. Major, Charlotte N. Vance
The obesity epidemic in America may be due partially to differences between perceived and actual caloric intake. The purpose of the study was to compare two educational modalities designed to reduce error in estimating caloric intake. Following IRB approval, 7 participants (male=5, female=2) (means±SD; age=19.9±1.3; BMI=23.4±2.1) were randomly assigned to one of two intervention groups. All participants took pre- and post-tests gauging portion size and calorie count estimation accuracy. For six days over the next two weeks, both groups submitted emails containing portion size and calorie count estimates for all foods consumed. The text-based group (TBG) received individualized feedback 1x/week while the image-based groups (IBG) attached photos of foods consumed and received feedback 3x/week. T-tests showed all participants significantly overestimated actual caloric intake compared to researcher estimates (8246.9±3394.8 vs. 7812.7±3407.7; p=0.001) and significant improvements in absolute percent error were seen when both interventions were pooled (pre=78.2%±45.3%; post=27.8%±0.2%). A repeated-measures ANOVA showed that while not significant, the IBG (pre=101.2%±49.5; post=27.7%±0.2%), compared to the TBG (pre=47.6%±4.7; post=27.7%±0.0%), saw a greater reduction in absolute percent error in caloric estimates on the test (p=0.129). Additionally, non-significant moderate correlations existed between BMI and pre-test error (r=0.522; p=0.229) as well as between BMI and post-intervention estimation improvement (r=0.524; p=0.315). In conclusion, diet education significantly decreases error in estimating caloric intake, perhaps more so for those with higher BMIs. No significant difference was seen between IBG and TBG for groups. More research is necessary to determine the most effective learning method for nutrition education.