Educating Dental Students About Diet-Related Behavior Change: Does Experiential Learning Work?

ArticleinJournal of dental education 78(1):64-74 · January 2014with8 Reads
Impact Factor: 0.97 · Source: PubMed

The objective of this study was to explore whether an experiential exercise in a nutrition class would a) increase dental students' motivation to change their own diet-related behavior, b) improve their understanding of theoretical concepts related to behavior change, and c) improve their attitudes towards educating their patients about diet-related behavior. Data were collected from 218 senior dental students in one dental school (2010: 106; 2011: 112) during their nutrition class. The students agreed at the beginning that it was important to change their own diet-related behavior. After one week, the majority agreed that they had changed how they felt and thought about the targeted behavior and what they actually did. After three weeks and at the end of the term, they rated the exercise as helpful for gaining a better understanding of health education theories. The majority indicated that the exercise had helped them understand the difficulty of diet-related behavior change and that it had increased their interest in helping patients change their diet-related behavior. In conclusion, this study suggests that experiential learning about diet-related behavior change is likely to affect students' own behavior positively and to result in increased understanding of behavior change theories and positive behavioral intentions concerning future health education efforts with patients.

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    Full-text · Article · Feb 2004 · Public Health Nutrition
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    Preview · Article · Jan 2006 · Journal of dental education
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effect of milk on dental caries was studied on a sample of 6-to-11-year-old Italian schoolchildren. The daily amount of milk consumed and the frequency of consumption of sucrose-containing foods were obtained by a 24-hour dietary diary. In the subsequent oral examination, the level of visible plaque and the number of decayed, extracted and filled teeth (both primary and permanent) of the children were recorded. 439 children (217 boys) who did not use fluoride prophylaxis and with poor oral hygiene were selected from among 890 children. They were divided into three groups according to the frequency of sucrose consumption. The data were statistically analysed using multiple logistic regression. The children consumed a daily average of 209 +/- 133 ml of milk and there were no differences among the three groups in this respect. As expected, the dental health of the children with low sucrose frequency was significantly better than that of the children with high sucrose frequency. The regression on the whole sample showed a weak, significant, negative association between milk consumption and caries (p < 0.05). In the group of high sucrose-consuming children a negative, highly significant association was found (p < 0.001), while in the two groups of low and moderate sucrose-consuming children no association was found. These data suggest that, in the present sample of children who did not use fluoride and with poor oral hygiene, milk has a caries preventive effect only on those subjects with a high daily sucrose-consuming frequency.
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