An Analysis of the Perception of Nutritional Knowledge of Parents and Teachers: Do We Really Know What Nutrients Do?
Brennen, Jeremy Chad
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It has been argued for decades that good nutrition is extremely beneficial, but, how many parents and teachers actually use this information to help advance their children and students academically? Studies have been done showing that students in middle school make better choices when they have been taught about good nutrition. Students are at the mercy of their parents and teachers when it comes to the types of foods that are available from which they can choose. There is no research addressing this niche of the population. This study investigated the level of understanding of parents and teachers of students to determine if they know enough about good nutrition to be able to take advantage of the benefits of good nutrition for the academic advancement of their children and students in school. The purpose of this study was to determine if parents and teachers understand the impact of good nutrition on the physical development of the body and brain of their children and students, especially on persons with an intellectual disability (ID). Furthermore, how parents and teachers then make different choices based on that information to help their children and students develop cognitively and emotionally. The results show that parents and teachers believe they know about the same amount of information when it comes to nutrition. Parents know they should feed their children more nutritious food. Due to limited resources, there is not much that can be done about getting students with special needs the best nutrition possible, but there is plenty that can be done about increasing the knowledge base of parents and helping them make more conscious efforts to support their children’s nutritional needs, especially for parents who have children with special needs. The results also showed a discrepancy in the number of teachers who have a student with special needs in their classroom. It may simply be the respondents; however, the results showed that the number of teachers without a student with special needs was greater than those with. This was surprising in light of the national push for inclusion classrooms. The other surprising result was that parents are not intentionally using good nutrition to increase their child’s chances for better brain function, even those parents with children with special needs.
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